When one thinks of Washington wine regions, the Walla Walla and Yakima valleys most likely come to mind. Yet if you live west of the Cascade Mountains, you don’t have to traverse the range to find first-rate wineries. The North Cascades are renowned for their beauty but they have received little attention for the wineries springing up in the area, which fall between the Puget Sound and general Columbia Valley AVAs. From the stunning shores of Lummi Island to the jagged mountains of Glacial Peak, there are wineries all over the North Cascades. Here are five that are leading the pack.
Vartanyan Estate Winery
Hosting wine tastings from Friday to Sunday, Vartanyan Estate Winery is fronted by a picturesque view of Mount Baker. Located about 16 minutes from downtown Bellingham, Washington, this winery is female owned and features wine tastings as well as concerts and paint classes. Perched above the vineyard on a quaint hill, Vartanyan currently produces15 different wines, with the most prestigious wine Vartanyan offers being a 2012 Nebbiolo. Noted as Italy’s “king of the wines” when in its Barolo form, this full-bodied wine would be best served with prime rib or even duck.
Legoe Bay Winery
Traveling to this winery only requires a short ferry ride to the scenic and rural Lummi Island. Thus a weekend trip to Legoe Bay Winery would be the perfect way to maximize your time. Hosting weekend tasting room hours from 1 p.m to 6 p.m, make room for exploring everything about this quaint island. Stay at The Willows Inn and explore the many beaches the island has to offer. With a community market happening on Saturday, there is much to do in addition to sampling Legoe Bay’s wine, from Gewurztraminer to Syrah.
GLM Wine Co.
Abbreviated for Great Lake Missoula, the prehistoric lake that was situated in Montana, this winery in Blaine, Washington, offers a wide array of sips in a warehouse mere minutes from the Canadian border. GLM is most known for its new technique of making “enrobed wine,” in which the unfermented skins of red grapes are used to coat, or enrobe, white grape juice, turning it into a red wine by fermentation. A must-try is the Deluge Reserve 2015, a Cabernet Sauvignon that spends 15 months in a barrel. A perfect day trip for Canadians looking to explore Blaine, this winery a must-stop.
Eagle Haven Winery
Located in upper Skagit Valley in Sedro-Wooley, Eagle Haven Winery has been active since 2004. Producing a variety of wine and offering a wine club membership, there is more than just wine at this winery. Starting this year, the maker is now hosting its first Sunday farmers market. Happening from May until October 6, there is live music as well as vendors and the usual wine tastings. Eagle Haven Winery is also a popular spot to host weddings with its sweeping views of the Skagit Valley and its impressive vineyard that is perfect for strolling around.
Glacial Peak Winery
Encompassed by Evergreen trees and rugged mountains, Glacial Peak Winery is secluded deep in the Cascade Mountains in Rockport, Washington. Joined together with Glacial Peak Resort, this is an ideal getaway for a wine lover who also enjoys hiking and the outdoors. Offering a rotating list of five wines, spend the rest of your time exploring the area, such as the historic Henry Thompson Bridge as well as nearby hikes.