Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Destination Woodinville Wine Country - No Longer Strangers @WineWoodinville

INTRODUCTION 
Woodinville a First Weekend.


What is the proper voice for sharing? Sometimes I forget this is a blog, a collection of my personal experiences and opinions. What I do not forget is the privilege of sharing with you the reader my sincere thoughts. Free to choose my words for this blog, as many as I wish, I choose to focus on the positive. I would rather build-up than tear-down. Occasionally an experience overwhelms and is too big for one post.

Patterson Cellars Pour of Chardonnay.

Many of my wine friends have encouraged me to visit a place I did not understand. "There is a lot going on in Woodinville, I'm surprised you have not visited." My typical response was, "They don't grow grapes there."

Novelty Hills Januick Winery.

Living in eastern Washington as long as I have, you know, where the grapes are grown, one can develop a little sensitivity to the dichotomy inherent in Washington state. Urban vs. agricultural, wet vs. dry, liberal vs. conservative, Husky vs. Cougar, west vs. east, etc. For me this has translated into a blind spot. A place I could not see. Or would not let myself see. Yes, I am referring to Woodinville.

Kit Singh of Lauren Ashton Cellars.

The topic of Woodinville has increasingly begged my attention. The more engaged I become with wine and the wine industry, the more frequent the subject of Woodinville wines and wineries. Last year I felt an increased sensitivity to Woodinville winemakers. Even I had to admit that my favorite wines were made in Woodinville (Pomum Cellars, Lauren Ashton Cellars, Gard Vintners). True stunners.

Kevin Correl of Barrage Cellars.

Acknowledgement of the talent in Woodinville forced me to admit that a visit to Woodinville Wine Country was merited. Pigs don't fly, but I did, that is I finally visited Woodinville Wine Country.

Map to Woodinville.

Woodinville, Washington, population 110 wineries; likely 111 by the time you read this.

"Perhaps this was a life changing moment. My eyes were opened"

Not knowing Woodinville and not sure how to approach Woodinville, I was overjoyed when Woodinville Wine Country invited me to spend a weekend in Woodinvillle to experience the wines, meet the winemakers and expand my awareness of an essential aspect of Washington wine. This included attending the annual RESERVE wine tasting event and the new North of 95 event. The Willows Lodge and Spa provided me deluxe accommodations for two nights.

Growing up in Seattle, I never knew how close I was to a respite from the hustle and noise of the city. An easy 30 minute drive from downtown Seattle, traffic permitting, I discovered that Woodinville has rolling hills and forests. And many excellent wineries.

From my home in eastern Washington it took three hours to drive to Bellevue. The traffic the last leg of my trip was thick and frustrating. It was a relief to find the exit and pull off the freeway. I could feel the frenetic energy from the city traffic dissipate as I descended into the tree lined valley below. With a population of about 11,000 it is part of the Seattle Metropolitan area, but feels nothing like a big city.

Woodinville Lavender Farm.

Woodinville has an interesting mix of small boutique local wineries. But it's not all local wineries, there are also showcase tasting rooms representing many eastern Washington wineries. Woodinville is also home to Chateau St. Michelle the largest and first modern winery in Washington state.

Willows Lodge Reception.
I've told friends and associates for years I had never visited Woodinville wine country. That it was unlikely I would ever visit. Well no longer am I a stranger to Woodinville wineries and winemakers. I have passed a milestone. Perhaps this was a life changing moment. My eyes were opened and I am ready to recommend that you visit Woodinville Wine Country.

Because there is so much information I want to share with you, I am dividing my discussion of Woodinville Wine Country into multiple posts.


Outline: Destination Woodinville Wine Country

Wine Tasting at JM Cellars.
This is a unique place with many different wine venues providing, perhaps, the best snapshot of Washington wine. Hopefully my next posts about Woodinville Wine Country will inspire you to plan a visit to begin your own discovery of Washington wine.

Woodinville Wine Resources

I made many new friends in Woodinville over the weekend. Friends I intend to keep close. They know what is happening in Woodinville and they appreciate wine as much as I do. This was a wonderful and enlightening experience. We're no longer strangers Woodinville. I will be back.

Next: RESERVE and North of 95 two new to me events.

Cheers!