Saturday, June 07, 2008

A Day of Wine Tasting in Woodinville

For our 25th anniversary, Elisabeth gave us a day of wine tasting among the 38 wineries in Woodinville, followed by dinner and a hot air balloon ride. All of it was scheduled to take place today, but because of Seattle's unseasonably crappy weather lately (it's rained every single day in June so far!), the balloon ride part of the day was postponed.

Good thing, too. Because by evening I was -- well... not in any condition to be lifted hundreds of feet in the air in a little basket under a flame that pops on and off erratically.

Unfortunately, Aleks and Kat couldn't come with us because they're under-age, but Elisabeth invited Peter (Danelle doesn't turn 21 till August) to come with us. We left the house in the early afternoon...
... and headed right to JM Cellars, where Elisabeth greeted Tim, the assistant wine maker. She's done this wine tasting thing before with her friends, and being the friendly and outgoing sort, she knew quite a few of the wine makers we visited!
Tim gave us sample after sample of his favorite wines -- cabernets, malbecs, and a bunch of wines I'd never heard of. The tool he used to sneak the wine out of the barrels is called a "thief." Cute, eh?
If you don't like the wine or you feel a buzz coming on just a bit too early in the day, you're invited to pour your wine down this drain!
Tim doted on us for about an hour, climbing among the barrels to make sure we had a little taste of everything. Then he provided a little heat to one barrel in particular as he explained to us how wine is made.
It became obvious, after our visit to JM Cellars, that we needed some lunch or we'd be down for a nap (and who knows where?!) by 3 PM. So we made a pit stop here:
After lunch, it was off to the "warehouse district" of Woodinville, where numerous wineries are housed completely inconspicuously in an industrial park!
We've lived in this town for 13 years and, until Elisabeth told us about wineries in Woodinville (most of which, granted, have been here far less than 13 years), we had no clue they even existed! And when they're behind rolling metal doors in places like this, that's not hard to believe!
Our favorite winery here was Arlington Road, where wine maker Derrick provided delicious wines and hilarious entertainment.
We even had a chance to "do a pour." (That's a lie, actually. Derrick just wanted to take our picture!)
Good thing Elisabeth was our designated driver, because around this time I became quite convinced that I wouldn't be driving anywhere for the rest of the day! Around this time, we also headed to a different industrial park where even more wineries are located, and we settled on a taste at the Woodhouse family winery...
...where we even got a tour of the "back room" and the bottling facility. Or rather, the bottling machine.
We bought a fabulous mulbec (no relation to Molbak's Nursery, our town's other claim to fame!) and a fruity dessert muscat here.

Next stop: Chateau Ste Michelle, Woodinville's best known winery (which is directly across the street from Redhook, our famous brewery)...

and home to some fabulous summer concerts.

We did a bit of wine tasting here, but also walked the beautiful grounds which, we decided, would be perfect for a summer wedding. (Summer. Not winter, like today!)

We ended the day with a wonderful dinner at The Keg -- and no, we didn't have any wine at all with our dinner!
And now, if you'll excuse me, it's really time for a ......

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Jen said...

What a lovely day! You have such wonderful kiddos!

Anonymous said...

Marvelous! What a great day, in spite of it being June-uary.

Maria said...

Awesome! Happy Anniversary all over again! :)

Ann(ie) said...

OH WOW what a fun day!! Sucks the weather would cooperate! meh.
I got married (the first starter marriage to Jackass) at the Columbia winery in Woodinville. It was so beautiful!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing your day. The last time we were at Chateau Ste. Michelle
was for my son's 1st birthday, and he just turned 27. I attended my 30 year high school reunion at Columbia Winery in 1999.

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