Manson, Washington, is a cute hamlet nestled on the shores of Lake Chelan. Although mainly known for summer vacations on the lake, Manson has become a wine destination worth checking out. There are more than 18 wineries and tasting rooms in the area, stretching from Downtown Manson to the Manson Loop Wine Trail through the surrounding countryside. This year is the 10th anniversary of the Lake Chelan AVA, so look for anniversary events throughout the summer season. Many of the wineries are also family friendly, which makes wine tasting a perfect addition to a summer vacation.
The Wapato Point Resort is the perfect base for your trip to the area. Generations of families have spent their summer vacations on the 116-acre resort with nine swimming pools and 1.5 miles of waterfront. The resort has all the amenities for a summer trip, including on-site water sport rentals. It is conveniently located with 13 wineries within 3 miles and many within walking distance.
The Lake Chelan AVA is known for its distinctive glacial formed soil that contains quartz and mica, providing grapes grown in this area with unique minerals and nutrients. The location of the vineyards along the lake benefit from warm days and cool nights caused by a lake effect that allows for a longer growing season and less chance of frost. A day of wine tasting can be accomplished with a walk or bike ride into the town of Manson.
For some serious wine in a fun, laid-back tasting room, head to Wine Girl Wines. Former roller derby queen Angela Jacobs backs her wine-making skills with degrees in biochemistry and cell and molecular biology. Todd Link, aka The General, is a big personality with a knack for marketing and events. With a family-friendly environment, the tasting room is a popular site for summer concerts and trivia nights. Make sure to check out the pin-up girl wine labels, which are not only cute but each has a fun story.
Tasting note: Wine Club members say the 2016 Reserve Malbec is Angela’s best Malbec ever.
Located next door is Rio Vista Wines at the Cabin. This cozy tasting room has a kid room upstairs and gazebos outside to enjoy the nice weather. The winery is known for its wine slushies, which hit the spot on a hot, summer day.
Tasting note: Sunset on the River is a blend of estate-grown Pinot Grigio, Gewurztraminer and Viognier. This Double Platinum Medal winner from Wine Press Northwest is the perfect summer wine, and — with its pale pinkish-orange color — it really does look like a sunset in a glass.
There are plenty more wineries to check out in the area. Just stroll downtown or take a short drive.
Plan on arriving at Wapato Point Cellars late afternoon, where you’ll finish your day of wine tasting. A tasting room from noon to 5pm, Wapato Point Cellars turns into the Winemaker’s Grill in the evening. What makes this such a unique tasting experience is that each wine is also paired with a suggestion of what to order at the restaurant. Spend some time tasting and planning the perfect pairing for your meal. This is the place recommended over and over by locals for a nice meal out. A bonus for parents is the courtyard dining includes a view of the playground.
Tasting notes: The grill is known for its dry-aged steaks. The recommended pairing for a ribeye is either the 2015 Williams Merlot or the 2015 Cougar Ridge Merlot. After tasting both, I chose the Cougar Ridge, which pairs perfectly alongside the ribeye. All the Wapato Point Cellars wines are available by the glass.
For more information on the area, visit More to Manson online.