Getaway Guide: One-Tank Trip to Woodinville Wine Country

August 18, 2012 11:00 AM

The city of Woodinville is a mere 30 minutes northeast of downtown Seattle, a quick drive past 520 in the Sammamish River Valley. The city itself offers an array of activities for visiting patrons, but the area is best noted for wine country. The wine industry began back in 1976 when Cheateau Ste Michelle established its vineyards, and today there are more than 90 local wineries with tasting rooms just a stone’s throw away. A majority of the wineries grow their grapes in the warm climate of Eastern Washington’s Columbia Valley, where they are carefully harvested and passionately fermented to craft the Northwest’s best world class wines. With so many wineries in such close proximity, you’d imagine there would be alot of competition between winemakers, but you’ll find the folks running the wineries here come together as a community to share their passion for great wine. Take advantage on a one-tank trip filled with sweet, red-wine memories.

Getting There:
If you’re coming from Seattle, take I-5 north and go over the 520 bridge which is now tolled, or if you’re coming from south of the city hop on I-90 east from I-5 and continue to take 405 north toward Everett. After five miles or so you’ll want to take exit 20B for Northeast 124th Street, and slight left onto 132nd when you get off the exit. Take a right on 145th and wind your way past the warehouse row wineries into Woodinville Wine Country.

Pit Stops:

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The Bravern
11111 N.E. 8th St. 5
Bellevue, WA 98004
(425) 456-8795

If you need to fill up for gas, grab a bite to eat or check out some shopping before you get your sip on, Bellevue is a great place to make a stop along the way. Bellevue’s Bravern shopping district offers an array of clothing shops including Neiman Marcus, Jimmy Choo and Anthropologie, offering the perfect outfits for your getaway.There are several gas stations right off of the freeway on your way to the Bravern as well, if you need to fill up before you get back in the car and head out to wine country.

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Vovito Caffe & Gelato
(425) 502-7522

If you need a caffeine fix, stop at the traditional Italian cafe Vovito, located within the Bravern, and order one of its gourmet handcrafted coffees made with single-origin Italian coffee beans. It offers a delictable case of sweet gelato flavors if you’re sweet tooth is acting up, and a variety of paninis and fresh salads for lunch on the go.


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Willow’s Lodge
14580 N.E. 145th St.
Woodinville, WA 98072
(425) 424-3900

There is only one hotel within Woodinville wine country, and there needn’t be other options, as Willow’s is the absolute perfect accomodation for a weekend of winieres. Willow’s Lodge is an eco- and pet-friendly boutique hotel, that offers all of the amenities you’d expect more from a hotel of its stature. It offers three catergories of rooms: nice, nicer and nicest, and they’ve filled the bar, heated the towel racks, and positioned almost every room to have a view. Willow’s hosts between 70 and 90 weddings a year, and offers a variety of packages including a girlfriend getaway, an excuse to wine, a Woodinville Winecation with free bicycles to roam around the near by Burke Gilman Trail and its most popular Do Not Disturb package, which includes a stay in a nicer room, certificate for their delectable connecting restaurant the Barking Frog, and sealed with a drawn bath with bubbles, (both in the tub and your glass) floating rose petals, and chocolate-covered strawberries. The grounds are beautifully landscaped, and along with a variety of exotic plants, hosts two pet pigs.

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L Auberge Edge of Seattle Inn
16400 216 Avenue Northeast
Woodinville, WA 98077
(425) 844-4102

Click here for prices and packages

Your French connection bed and breakfast in town, this little gem hidden just outside of wine country offers accommodations as well as traditional French cooking classes. The inn accomodates only 10 guests, so reservations are a must to stay at this edge-of-Seattle location on a sprawling five acres in the foothills. All guest packages include dinner and a cooking class for two. The inn ofers luxury apartments, studios and even a honeymoon suite, and has special options if you’re staying a little longer on business.

With more than 90 wineries to choose from, it can be a bit of a challenge to pick which tasting rooms to visit, so here is a list of a variety of local wineries; from big production names including Ste Michelle and Columbia to blooming boutiques such as Darby and Sparkman Cellars.

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Delille Cellars
14208 Woodinville-Redmond Road Northeast
Redmond, WA 98052
(425) 489-0544

Delille has been producing some of the best old world reds and white in the area since 1992, and is a family owned production. Their grapes are grown in Eastern Washington and are best known for their robust Bordeaux style wines, similar to those produced in the french countryside of Rhone. Their tasting room has an open air covered carriage house, and they currently are serving the ever popular Provence/Bandol style rose.

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(photo credit: Kara Tiernan)

Chateau Ste Michelle
14111 Northeast 145th Street  Woodinville, WA 98072
(425) 488-1133

Chateau Ste Michelle is the oldest winery in Washington State, and certainly has the most impressive estate in Woodinville. The winery itself sits on 105 acres, where it grows some of its own grapes, although the majority of the grapes it uses are from Eastern Washington. The winery prides itself on combining old and new-world wine making, and strives to bring out the regions expansive varietals in each and every wine it produces. Ste Michelle holds tours and tastings for visitors, and hosts a summer concert series out in its vineyards, with performances by stars including Ringo Starr and the Steve Miller Band.

 Getaway Guide: One Tank Trip to Woodinville Wine Country

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Alexandria Nicole Cellars
14810 N.E. 145th St.
Woodinville, WA 98072
(425) 487-9463

Located in the lower level of the old Hollywood School, Alexandria Nicole Cellars is a great new addition to the area, not only because it produces fine wines with its 23 varietals, but because it offers a fabulous wine membership which includes access to its “hidden door club” wine events, and luxury backroom with social seating areas, enomatic machines that pour a library of wines. Use your membership card to get special discounts at its partner business such as the Barking Frog restaurant in town as well. Backdoor also offers a great food menu that wine club members may enjoy out on the outdoor patio or inside by the cozy hearth.

 Getaway Guide: One Tank Trip to Woodinville Wine Country

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Kestrel Wines
19501 144th Ave. Northeast
Woodinville, WA 98072
(425) 398-1199

The Kestrel tasting room is located in the unique winery warehouse row, which hosts more than 25 wineries door to door, which along with a passion for great wine production, share equipment and warehouse space. Kestrel is best known for its artist series, with the fabulous white and red wine ladies: the pure platinum gal on the blue bottle of its lightly sweet, yet floral off-dry white, and the lovely lady in red with big hints of black cherry and light pepper notes. Kestrel has been around since 1999, and several of its bottles may actually be found in local grocery stores and wine shops in the Seattle and Bellevue area.


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Barking Frog
14580 Northeast 145th Street
Woodinville, WA 98072
(425) 424-2999

Barking Frog is the restaurant associated with the luxurious Willow’s Lodge, so going along with its eco-friendly ethos, it tries to use local organic ingredients in all of its dishes. It even has its own herb garden over at Willow’s. Barking Frog is noted as one of the best restaurants in the area serving Northwest-inspired dishes, such as pan-seared scallops, and truffle mac and cheese. If you’re going early for brunch it offers a fabulous northwest pulled-pork eggs Benedict with cornbread squares.

 Getaway Guide: One Tank Trip to Woodinville Wine Country

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The Herb Farm
14590 Northeast 145th Street
Woodinville, WA 98072
(425) 485-5300

The Herb Farm has a reputation for being booked out years in advance, but that was back when it was running the show from its farm in Prosser. Now the owners are admired for their country charm and outstanding farm-to-table dishes. The Herb Farm is a one-of-a-kind dining experience, with only one serving per day, a nine-course meal paired with five to six local wines, showcasing only the best seasonal local ingredients from the Pacific Northwest. The kitchen is in plain sight of patrons, and the owners planned it that way; they want you to see exactly how much work and heart is put into each and every serving. The Herb Farm is conveniently located on the same property as Willow’s Lodge, and even hosts thematic dinners including a 100-mile dinner, using ingredients only within 100 miles from the restaurant.

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Purple Cafe & Wine Bar
14459 Woodinville Redmond Road Northeast
Woodinville, WA 98072
(425) 483-7129

The purple cafe, located across the parking lot from Delille Cellars, is a wonderful dining experience, encouraging patrons to sample one of its local food and wine pairings. Purple really has an expansive menu, offering brunch, lunch, dinner and happy-hour options catering to every patron who visits the area. Try one of its cheeky cheese flights, and share starters including gorgonzola-stuffed dates before moving onto dinner. Purple also has locations in Bellevue and Seattle if you’re staying outside of wine country.

Related: Best Destinations for Skydivers Near Seattle

Besides toiling in the newsroom and online publications, Kara Tiernan has spent the last decade traveling the globe and making a name for herself in the world of journalism. She loves to share the beauty of the Pacific Northwest and writes on all things Seattle. Her work can be found at

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