Whether you’re a Seattle tourist or Seattle resident, a visit to Woodinville Wine Country is a fun way to spend the day exploring the range of wines crafted in Washington State. The booming growth of the Washington wine industry means new tasting rooms are constantly opening. So even if you’ve been there before it likely isn’t the same as you remember. To bring you up to speed we’ve got an overview of our recent outing to the Woodinville Warehouse District including a guide to three wineries we visited, lists of our recommended wines that we brought home with us, and quick tips on preparing for a day trip.

Just about 40 minutes from Seattle, Woodinville Wine Country is divided up into districts. Our approach for day tripping is to pick one neighborhood, park the car, and walk from tasting room to tasting room. We chose the Woodinville Warehouse District for our “staycation” during Labor Day weekend. After all, the area is home to more boutique wineries per square foot than any wine region in the world according to the Woodinville Wine Country website.

Know Before You Go

The area is as advertised – a warehouse district – so don’t expect vineyards! Woodinville wineries procure their grapes from vineyards in other parts of the state. The landscape here is covered with repurposed warehouses transformed into casual tasting rooms that are worth exploring. Many have roll up garage doors that are open to let the sunlight stream in on clear days. The mood is laid back and casual. No Snooty McSnootersons here, and it’s perfect for wine newbies!

Be sure to check tasting room hours before you head out to Woodinville. The majority of wineries in the Warehouse District are typically only open Saturday and Sunday.

A Tour of Three Tasting Rooms

We chose to visit each of these wineries due to their reputations for producing food friendly wines. Also, two of the wineries are owned by Northwest Wine Academy alumni. As an alumnus of the same school, I have a soft spot for them.

Each of these tasting room offers:
A nice selection of white and red wines.
Waived tasting fee with wine purchase (it only makes sense to buy wine!).
Incredible quality to price ratio on the wines.
Comfortable seating.
Opportunity to meet the winery owners.
Pleasantly paced tasting with time to relax and enjoy the experience.

Savage Grace Wines
19501 144th Ave NE, Ste. F-1100
Woodinville, WA 98072
Hours: Saturday and Sunday 1:00 – 5:00pm
Go for a chance to meet the winemaker.

Located at the far east end of the Warehouse district, you might miss Savage Grace if you aren’t looking for it. The intimate tasting room is a terrific place to visit if, like us, you want to hear about where the grapes are grown and how the wine is made.

We grabbed a perch at one of the high boy tables with a window view into the cellar. Michael Savage, proprietor and winemaker, was on hand during our visit pouring wines and revealing his inspiration behind each. My husband was over the moon and my inner wine geek was jumping for joy!

The Wines
We tasted Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, rosé (of which we were given a taste, then informed it’s sold out), Côt (aka Malbec), Cabernet Franc, and Cabernet Sauvignon.
The wines we brought home include the Riesling and Côt.

W.T. Vintners
19495 144th Ave NE, Ste. B-210
Woodinville, WA 98072
Hours: Saturday and Sunday 1:00 – 5:00pm
Go for the less than mainstream white wines.

With high profile sommelier Jeff Lindsay-Thorsen as the winemaker in this venture, this producer delights my inner cork dork with varieties such as Grüner Veltliner.  A second label called Raconteur Wine Company was recently introduced offering “multi-vineyard wines at maverick level affordability with unparalleled provenance and quality.”

The setting includes a charming tasting room that leads to the cellar where caramel colored leather sofas lend the space a man cave vibe.

During our visit the roll up garage door was open and the sun was shining, so we selected seating at the table bordering the air conditioned inside and warm exterior. We were provided a list of wines in the tasting lineup with wonderful descriptors, as one would expect from a somm. Wines were politely poured for us and we were left alone with our tasting sheet to read about each one.

The Wines
Each week the winemaker selects 5 wines for the tasting. Among the selections on our visit were the Raconteur White Blend, Grüner Veltliner, Parasol Rosé, Damavian Syrah, and Stoney Vine Red Blend.
We purchased the Raconteur White Blend and the Rosé.

Davenport Cellars
19495 144th Ave NE, Ste. A-160
Woodinville, WA 98072
Hours: Saturday and Sunday 11:30am – 5:00pm
Go for the food, a chance to chat about the wine with the owners, and tasting on the outdoor patio when the weather permits.

As the only tasting room in this enclave with a kitchen offering shareable plates, sandwiches, and salads Davenport Cellars is a perfect starting or ending point when wine tasting in the Warehouse District. While dining, guests are welcome to order wines by the glass or the bottle. The tasting room is also available outside of regular hours for private events.

Jeff and Sheila Jirka, the husband and wife team who own this boutique winery, take a hands-on approach in all facets of winery operations from winemaking to running the kitchen, and they still take the time to visit with guests in the tasting room.

We enjoyed an order of the delectable Chef’s Wine Chips with a gorgonzola dipping sauce during our wine tasting.

The Wines
Tasting includes 5 wines. We were offered a white Bordeaux style blend of sauvignon blanc/Semillon, Semillon, Zinfandel, and two Bordeaux style red blends – one Merlot dominant, and one Cabernet Sauvignon dominant.
We took home the Orange Muscat (this is one of our Summer Wine Picks), and the Zinfandel.

Be Prepared

Wear comfortable shoes for walking from one tasting room to another. Also, be aware that concrete floors are the norm and you may end up standing during tasting.

Dress in layers. Some wineries allow people to taste in the cellar which is kept at cooler temperatures.

For a more personal experience, plan a visit on Sunday early in the day. There are usually fewer folks out tasting on Sunday, and most tasting rooms get busier as the day goes on.

A winery is likely to change its tasting lineup throughout the year. For example, many wineries release rosé in the spring and sell out of it before the end of summer. So, when you find a wine you like, buy it then and there. To keep informed of release dates for your favorite wineries join the Club or sign up on their email list.

If you’re visiting with a group of more than 8 people, it’s always a good idea to contact smaller wineries ahead of time to see if you need an appointment. Small tasting rooms likely have limited resources, and many in this region are family owned and operated businesses. So, if a winery is expecting your group they can staff accordingly in order to offer the best experience possible.

There you have some tips for planning your next trip to the Woodinville Warehouse District. For additional information, check out the handy winery event calendar and other resources on the Woodinville Wine Country site.

Full disclosure: the author works part-time for Davenport Cellars; however, this is not a paid endorsement. At Washington State Wine and Beer we wouldn’t recommend it if we didn’t love it!

About the Author

Nancy Croisier is an enthusiastic advocate for exploring the world of wine. She holds the prestigious designation of Certified Specialist of Wine (CSW) from the Society of Wine Educators, and has graduated from the Northwest Wine Academy with expert training in wine and food pairing, as well as wine sales and marketing. She specializes in bringing wine brands and consumers together. Follow Nancy’s wine and food adventures on Twitter and Instagram:  @NancyFeasts.