WINE AND DINE: Jerry Riener, owner and winemaker at Guardian Cellars, pulling a barrel sample to check the color and clarity of his wine
Barbara Kinney


It might not have the familiar ring of Napa or Sonoma, but Woodinville is a prime stop on THE WEST COAST WINE CIRCUIT.


Just 30 minutes northeast of Seattle, this burgeoning burb is home to more than 100 wineries and tasting rooms that pour wines from all 13 of Washington’s appellations. You won’t spot too many actual vineyards; those thrive in the eastern half of the state. Instead, what you’ll find in abundance are enthusiastic winemakers eager to share their craft and savvy enough to set up shop where tourists — and half the state’s population — can easily enjoy an indulgent weekend of wine, food and fun. There’s no better time to visit than April and early May, during the Woodinville Reserve Weekend and Passport to Woodinville: Last Call celebrations.

SIP: Woodinville’s wineries and tasting rooms are largely grouped into three districts. The ­Warehouse Winery District has the energy of a high-tech incubator, with dozens of wineries blending and bottling side by side. Jerry Riener at Guardian Cellars beckons guests to his back room, where — with a magician’s flourish — he reveals bins of glistening grapes destined for his outstanding red blends. The oldest winery in the state, Chateau Ste. Michelle, anchors the West Valley Wine District. You’ll pass peacocks and manicured gardens on your way into the chateau, where you can join free tours and select from a half-dozen tasting options. The Chateau’s summer concert series is one of Woodinville’s top draws. Gorman Winery is a rock star in the Hollywood Winery District. Autographed guitars line the walls, while its lauded wines, such as The Pixie Syrah, line the tasting bar. Lastly, reserve a tasting at Adams Bench Winery. Charming owner-winemakers Tim and Erica Blue provide a personal introduction to their highly rated cabernet sauvignons.

EAT: Enjoy free coffee while awaiting a breakfast table at Woodinville Café, known for its homemade corned-beef hash and bacon potato pancakes. At the Barking Frog, executive chef Bobby Moore serves such sumptuous regional fare as Grand Marnier prawns and truffled mac and cheese. Next door, The Herbfarm is a locavore’s delight. Its thematic nine-course dinners — such as the offering running until April 13, “A Walk in the Woods” — have earned national acclaim for their inventive interpretations of the Northwest’s bounty.

DO: Redhook Ale Brewery offers tours year-round as well as its Moonlight Cinema Series during the summer. Behind Redhook, an adrenaline rush awaits at Adventura, an aerial ropes and zip-line park. Make a reservation, because slots fill up quickly. For more sedate entertainment, check out the latest production by the Woodinville ­Repertory Theatre.

SHOP: For decades, Molbak’s Garden + Home was Woodinville’s main claim to fame. What opened in 1956 as a wholesale nursery has evolved into a 10-acre gardening and giftware wonderland. Rosa Mundi’s Antiques & Interiors is a favorite in the 425 area code for its rich fabrics and well-curated selection of European antiques. A few doors down, the Sammamish Valley Arts Center showcases the work of local artists.

STAY: Willows Lodge is an 84-room luxury resort with as many awards as amenities. Hitch a ride in the hotel’s pedicab to nearby wineries or borrow a bike to pedal along the Sammamish River Trail. On-site, enjoy a glass of wine in the Fireside lounge, a dip in the pool, a Carita facial at the spa or a stroll around the grounds to view artwork by regional Native American artists.



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