Washington’s Playground is home to a burgeoning wine scene boasting impressive numbers of vineyards run by both seasoned and up-and-coming vintners, and they all offer ample opportunities to taste. Due to the long grape growing season, ample amounts of sunshine, and pristine waters from our snow-fed rivers and lakes, vineyards thrive on our terraced hills and river banks. From the vineyards to the wineries and on to the tasting rooms, visitors raise their wine glasses to tickle their taste buds with the latest and greatest that this region has to offer. Between Lake Chelan, Wenatchee, and Leavenworth there are dozens of tasting opportunities and backstage winery tours so we’ve highlighting a few to help demonstrate the area’s prowess. Your own quick search for area wineries will yield impressive results, and we promise you won’t be disappointed.
In the Bavarian-themed mountain/river town of Leavenworth, there are nearly a dozen wine tasting rooms within walking distance of downtown including Kestrel Vintners, Boudreux Cellars, Swakane Winery, Pasek Cellars, and Stemilt Creek Winery. Make sure to stop by the new Icicle Ridge Winery across from Front St Park, which offers one of the best selections in the full spectrum of reds to whites and one of the nicest spaces to taste in town. Next, visit Baroness Cellars located a block down on Front St just before the town’s only local brewery Icicle Brewing Company. Baroness Cellars specializes in European inspired wine varietals that every wine-lover should try (and buy a bottle or two to take or ship home!). On your way out of town, make a stop at Silvara Vineyards along Highway 2 to see their beautiful tasting room and facilities and enjoy their wines as well.
Twenty-two miles east of Leavenworth in the larger city of Wenatchee, drive out to Chateau Faire Le Pont, one of the swankiest vineyards in the area which also offers overnight suites and full winery tours. While in Wenatchee, check out the Ryan Patrick Vineyards where you can walk the rows of the finest varieties of grapes and chat with the owners about their labor of love while sitting on the back patio overlooking the Columbia River. This is by far one of the best locations for a sunset wine tasting in the Pacific Northwest.
Heading up the Columbia River, in the resort town of Lake Chelan, you’ll find wineries such as Plain Cellars, Lake Chelan Winery, Wapato Point Cellars, Vin Du Lac Wineries, and Tsillan Cellars. Some of the area’s best wines come from grapes grown on this magnificent lake’s banks. One of the highest recommended in the area is Tsillan Cellars where the tasting room is adorned with stone and marble, and magnificent open beam trusses made from enormous timbers of reclaimed wood from the old train trestle that used to cross the Great Salt Lake. Notice the subtle differences in tastes from this areas unique soil composition and climate.
Each year these wineries manage to bring out new characteristics in their wines and wine-lovers from all around keep coming back for more. With more wineries than you could shake a grape vine at, you’re sure to find favorites of your own each time you visit Washington’s Playground. Remember, please drink responsibly and always use a designated driver. There are multiple area shuttle companies and wine tour operators that can assist you with traveling between destinations.