5 Examples of Memorable Winery Tasting Rooms

When it comes to tasting room experiences, some wineries really “get it”.  To conclude this three part series on tasting rooms, I wanted to share my experiences with West Coast winery tasting rooms that are getting it right.

Real Life Examples of Memorable Tasting Rooms

One of my favorite tasting rooms is at Northstar Winery in Walla Walla which I wrote about in the post regarding the 2009 Walla Walla Fall Release Weekend. A backlit tasting bar, comfy seating, friendly staff, wine flights, and great deals (one time we got a free magnum!) are just some of the highlights. We’ve never left this winery with less than half a case of their stellar juice and memories that we talk about over and over.

My friends Jean and Toby stopped off at Erath Winery during a family road trip. They all had a memorable time, including the kids who were treated to a special Snapple tasting! The winery got some great word of mouth promotion for this small but thoughtful gesture.

When we visited Kunde Family Estate, they had a special roped off area for those who chose the “Reserve Tasting.” In addition to our wine, comfortable seating, and the special attention, we enjoyed a lovely appetizer and cheese plate with guidance on pairings.

Some of the wineries in the Lake Chelan AVA are doing a great job of capitalizing on their beautiful location. When we visited Karma Vineyards, we were seated next to the koi pond, ordered a nice lunch, and our tastings arrived in custom racks with inserted coasters that had a summary of tasting notes for each. We appreciated being able to take our time and enjoy the setting while sipping our wine.

We had a terrific surprise the last time we stopped at Carlton, Oregon, and found ourselves unexpectedly at the Tyrus Evan tasting room. As I looked across the room I said to the hubby, “Isn’t that Ken Wright over there?” Sure enough, the owner/winemaker of Ken Wright Cellars and Tyrus Evan was in our midst and kind enough to chat with us about his latest releases. Although the winery is based in Oregon, Ken also sources grapes from Washington, thereby providing an opportunity to taste the same variety from different appellations side by side. We spent the better part of an afternoon here at a nice table enjoying our own picnic while leisurely sampling a number of wines and perusing the gift shop.

Which winery tasting rooms really stand out for you? Tell us in the comment section about the wineries that you think are doing an exceptional job.

3 Responses to “5 Examples of Memorable Winery Tasting Rooms”

  1. Vivian says:

    In the early 90’s I was visiting eastern WA. In my beat up Dodge Colt I was following what at the time was called the fruit loop thru Yakima Valley. I followed winding roads and found one winery next to the owner’s home overlooking acres and acres of grapevines. No one was in sight. The winery door was locked and sported a sign “Ring Bell”. I did so and shortly a fellow in dirty jeans and shirt carrying a shotgun emerged from the grapevines. He saw me and scowled. I believe the shotgun was meant for pesky critters but it was hard to tell with that scowl. I pondered whether or not to sprint back to my car. Just as my feet were turning the scowl disappeared. I stayed put. He unlocked the door and welcomed me in. He was the owner and winemaker and, apparently, the vineyard manager. Being the only person there I was able to ask lots of questions. The basics were there-clean glasses, water, crackers, spit bucket and a very knowledgeable pourer, shotgun aside.

  2. Nancy says:

    Vivian, I have to say that is one of the most interesting and unique tasting experiences I have ever heard!

  3. Thanks for this great read! I too had an incredible time at North Star. I have had some incredible tasting room experiences as well. From impromptu Walla Walla barrel tastings to private Tuscan vineyard tours. Aint life grand Bean?

  4. […] event featuring several wines from Kunde Family Estate. Roger and I have a fond memory of visiting this Sonoma winery’s expansive tasting room during our last visit to California. Fun fact: the boxing scenes in the movie Bottleshock were […]

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