Call it the little wine island that could. Bainbridge Island, nestled in the Puget Sound region of Washington, just 30 minutes by ferry from Seattle, is the quietly rising star of Washington’s already prolific wine scene (the state boasts more than 650 wineries). Of the island’s seven wineries — which produce everything from dry, white Müller-Thurgau to classic reds like cabernet sauvignon — two operate storefront tasting rooms that are only a short stroll from the ferry terminal. For a true Bainbridge day trip, after visiting the wineries, take time to indulge in the island’s good food (including fine pastries) and stroll around downtown.
What resonates most as you hop from winery to winery are the personal touches. In Bainbridge’s wineries, you’ll find yourself trading tasting notes with the winemakers themselves, as they pour you a sample from their latest batch and rave about blends they’re dying to produce.
“The diversity of wines here is unequaled by any other region in Washington,” says Matt Albee, who opened Eleven Winery on the island in 2003 with his wife, Sarah. “A large proportion of people living on the island enjoy and appreciate fine wine, which is wonderful for us.”
Where to Taste
The following is just a sampler of some of our favorite spots. For a complete list, visit www.bainbridgewineries.com.
Start your visit to this young producer with a swirl of its pinot gris port or the popular La Ronde — a blend of syrah, malbec and petit verdot.
Owner Mike Lempriere is passionate about his dry, white Melon de Bourgogne (muscadet), of which he is the only producer in the state.
Bainbridge Island Vineyards and Winery
At this winery, the oldest on the island, we like sampling the lightly oak-aged, floral Müller-Thurgau or the raspberry dessert wine.
Between Sips …
Stop for a bite at one of these delectable eateries.
Sample local seafood and brews at the Harbour Public House & Marina while you take in striking views of the water. www.harbourpub.com
For a signature cocktail and heartier fare, like pasta and filet mignon, try the chic Cafe Nola. www.cafenola.com
The quirky Pegasus Coffee House and Gallery’s organic pastries and hot coffee make a fine pick-me-up when you need to take a break from the wine sipping.