Pairing the Perfect Weekend – Woodinville Wine Tasting Itinerary
Just 20 miles north of Seattle, the Woodinville region of Washington is the state’s most popular wine tasting destination. Featuring more than 130 wineries and tasting rooms pouring wines made with fruit sourced from Washington’s best winegrowing regions and plenty of great restaurants there’s a lot to tempt wine enthusiasts to make the short trip to this nouveau ‘wine country’.
With so many wineries in Woodinville to choose from it can be difficult for wine lovers to decide where to focus their time so we’ve included a breakdown of the different districts in the region, as well as a list of recommended wineries and hotels. Consider this your starting point on your Washington wine journey and select from among the following experiences to curate your own perfect weekend in Woodinville wine country.
Where to Sip in Woodinville
Baer Winery’s tasting room is located in the newly developed ‘Wine Alley’ at Woodin Creek Village in downtown Woodinville, next door to Ancestry Cellars. This fun little alley is a great place to taste wines from a handful of different wineries in Woodinville, have lunch, and do some shopping all without having to get in your car. Parking is also free at the garages and on the street here, and there aren’t any time limits on the garage spaces so no need to worry about getting a ticket if you hang out for the whole day or afternoon.
At Baer, the focus is on red blends made with fruit from the Royal Slopes AVA but they also make a bright, fresh unoaked Chardonnay and a rosé.
Baer’s Wine Alley tasting room is open Sunday, Monday, and Thursday 1-6 pm and Friday/Saturday from 1-7 pm *Closed Tuesday/Wednesday
JM Cellars has been in business since 1998 and has tasting room locations in Woodinville and Maltby (in Snohomish, WA). Their Woodinville property, known as ‘Bramble Bump’ is a stunning 7-acre forested estate and arboretum with a hospitality center and tasting room that feel more like a luxury lodge than a winery. The property was owned by horticulturalists who planted hundreds of Japanese maple trees and other beautiful flora and fauna before John and Peggy Bigelow (the current owners and JM Cellars founders) purchased the property in 2000.
JM Cellars’ focus is on crafting wines from Bordeaux, Rhone, and Burgundy varieties grown on the best vineyards sites in Washington and fermented in small lots so that they can make a diverse range of wines. They source fruit from their own estate Walla Walla vineyards as well as from other premium AVAs and vineyards sites in Washington that include the Horse Heaven Hills, Red Mountain, Rattlesnake Hills, and Boushey Vineyard,
Sustainable and environmentally responsible practices are also important at JM Cellars. They practice organic farming at their Woodinville property and their estate vineyards are certified sustainable as well as salmon safe.
JM’s Woodinville Bramble Bump property is open for wine tasting, glass pours, and in-person visits Thursday and Friday from 1pm to 4 pm and Saturday/Sunday from 11 am to 4 pm.
If you’re looking for a family-friendly winery with a gorgeous property where the kids can run around or hang out while one parent tastes wine or enjoys a glass of wine, Matthews is a fantastic option. This expansive winery and estate offer a large modern tasting room with cafe-style seating in addition to plenty of outdoor seating and outdoor spaces. Visitors/tasters can do a tasting or enjoy wines by the glass or bottle.
Matthews Winery’s focus is on robust red blends made with Bordeaux varieties (Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Petit Verdot) sourced from the Red Mountain and Columbia Valley regions but they also make a nice sparkling wine, a few whites, and a rose.
Patterson Cellars Hollywood Hill Tasting Room
Patterson Cellars Hollywood Hill tasting room is one of four locations where you can taste Patterson wines in the greater Seattle area. Other locations include the Warehouse District in Woodinville, Seattle, and Leavenworth. Like most wineries in Woodinville, Patterson makes a Cabernet Sauvignon and a Syrah but they also make a couple of sparkling wines, a few white wines (including a Pinot Gris and a white Rhone blend), and two unique (and fantastic!) dry rosé wines.
Enjoy a tasting at Patterson’s tasting room on a casual, walk-in basis (no reservations for regular tastings) or make a reservation for a wine and chocolate, wine and cheese, or wine and pizza pairing experience. Expect generous tasting portions, reasonable tasting fees (and when you buy a bottle, you’ll find a pull-tab on the bottle that’s good for a free tasting in the future), friendly service, and food offerings. The space also features live music on a regular basis during late spring and summer months. Check their event calendar to see upcoming dates.
Betz Family Winery
Founded in 1997 by Bob Betz (who spent 28 years at Chateau St. Michelle) and his wife Cathy, Betz Family Winery built their Woodinville winery in 2005 after some years of producing their wines in the Warehouse District in Woodinville. While the couple sold the winery to a South African family in 2011, Bob Betz still remains in a consulting winemaker role.
Over the decades, Betz wines have racked up many awards and high ratings (particularly their red wines and Bordeaux variety blends) and the winery is considered one of the most renowned in the state.
While Betz doesn’t have an open tasting room they do offer exclusive wine tasting experiences at their impressive wine estate in Redmond, by appointment. Tasting experiences are around two hours long and include an educational and sensory component. The objective is for each guest to leave understanding more about what it is they are tasting and smelling and how to describe these things. At $50-$65 per person, tasting fees at Betz are among the highest in the region but their tasting experience is also among the most immersive and intensive and the wines opened are high-end, reserve, and/or limited production wines. .
Where to Stay in Woodinville
The Hyatt Regency-Bellevue
This is one of the best Hyatt Regency experiences, hands-down. With luxe rooms, spectacular hospitality and service, and so many options for shopping and dining just minutes from the hotel you’ll want to extend your stay just to shop, eat, and live that glamorous city life. Fancy cocktails and sashimi at the top of a skyscraper after an afternoon of retail therapy anyone? Yes please.
The Archer Hotel-Redmond
This fun, hip hotel in Redmond (just 12 minutes from the center of Woodinville) is situated in an urban center with shops, restaurants, and a brewery. The Archer Hotel has a trendy but casual vibe (hipster meets socialite?), a casual cocktail bar and candy bar downstairs and rooms that feature distinctive touches such as cocktail glasses and cocktail maker kits and colorful his and hers (or hers and hers) slippers. There’s also a restaurant on-site and room service is available from 3-9 pm daily.
Somewhere between a country lodge and a luxury wine country hotel, Willows Lodge offers an alluring escape from daily life. Hang out on the lawn with a bottle of wine, relax in the hot tub, or take a walk around the property to visit the chickens and piglets. Make reservations at one of the two renowned restaurants on the property – The Barking Frog or Herbfarm (a AAA 5-Diamond Award-winner).
Where to Eat in Woodinville
For an unparalleled multi-course locavore-focused dining experience, Herbfarm will leave you nothing short of wowed (as well as incredibly full). Meals here are fixed price and include 9-courses paired with local wines. The setting is also charming- country farmhouse estate meets luxury restaurant, and the restaurant is located on the same property as the Willows Lodge making it incredibly convenient for Lodge guests who would like to have wines with dinner and not worry about driving back to their hotel.
For a more casual dining experience with farm-to-table focused fare served in a comfortable bistro-style environment make a reservation at Heritage Restaurant, a local favorite.
For a comfortable wine bar with a lively vibe, a large menu, and fantastic wines by the glass list head to Purple Cafe and Wine Bar.
For gourmet grab-and-go picnic fare pick up supplies from PCC Community Market in Redmond which offers a fantastic selection of local and organic products (cheese, cold cuts, fruit, produce, etc.), cold or hot pre-made food items, and more.
For straight from the tree apple goodness in liquid form, make a stop at Off the Branch Farm (in Redmond) to pick up a gallon jar or a hot piping cup (when the weather is crisp) of their delicious apple cider. You’ll also find a good selection of (locally made) gourmet cheeses, jellies, and other sundries here which make good picnic goodies.