Hello, and welcome to the Grape Northwest. This highly subjective guide is designed to help you find the best places to taste, eat and stay in the region’s top wine destinations, based on more than a dozen years (and counting) of travel to wineries and tasting rooms across the region. I’ll also be using this space to share updates, stray commentary and occasionally witty observations (I cannot guarantee that everyone will find these funny) on a variety of wine-related topics to inform your trip planning.
(Pictured above: Fidélitas tasting room, Red Mountain.)
My love for Washington wine began innocently enough, more than a decade ago, when I was living and working in San Francisco and stopped in at One Market Restaurant for a quick bite. (They used to offer a great USDA prime burger in their bar.) When it was time to order a glass of wine, the bartender steered me away from the Napa cabs, pointing me to a Columbia Valley Southern Rhône blend. I was a bit surprised by the recommendation, but I cannot overstate how grateful I am that I heeded the advice, As the fattiness and creaminess of meat and cheese neutralized tannins, they unmasked hints of dried black fruit and barrel spice that lingered after each sip. Nope, I’ll never forget the first time I tried Owen Roe’s Sinister Hand, a wine that continues to hold a special place in my heart—the story behind the name is pretty cool, too.
That was back in the mid-2000s, and the sequence of random events that allowed me to move from San Francisco to Seattle could not have happened at a better time. In the years since then, the Northwest wine industry has really hit its stride, not only in terms of the number of wineries that have opened, but also in quality. As they rein in the power of Northwest fruit, they are raising the standards for depth and complexity, coaxing out those structural elements that allow their wines to truly complement the foods we drink them with. And not just burgers, either.
As you navigate this site, I hope you’ll find the information you need to plan your own visit to any or all of our great wine regions. When we uncork the right wine, it enhances the food, the moment and our ability to connect with those around us, in ways that are therapeutic and inspirational. In this spirit, may the venues and wines you read about on this site provide you with experiences that steal your heart and memories you’ll cherish for years to come.
Chief Bottle Riddler