Home > Wine Tasting, wine travel, Wine Writing Challenge, Winery > Like A Kid In The Candy Store…

Like A Kid In The Candy Store…

October 13, 2014 Leave a comment Go to comments

I’m traveling again (for my daytime job), and of course, when I travel, I’m always looking for the local wineries to visit. This time I’m in Washington state, and of course, there is no shortage of wineries to visit here. Well, let me critique myself here for that beaten up “of course”. This is not the first time I’m in Washington –  however, last time I was here, I couldn’t think of anything but the Chateau St. Michelle as a winery to visit (which was the great visit, by the way, and I love their wines). While the Washington wineries had been on my radar for quite a long time, there was no realization that those wineries are actually the places which can be visited. Until this time.

First, I tried to arrange a visit to the Quilceida Creek, a cult producer. Unfortunately, they were smack in a middle of harvest at the time of my visit, and said that they allow no visitors at that time (oh well, I will try to time my visit better next time). Then I tried Google and got back way too many results. My next step was Twitter, where I got some name recommendations and was given a few posts to read – one from the Wild 4 Washington Wine blog (this is not just one blog post, this is a series), and another one from the Jameson Fink blog. Based on all the information, I wrote down the few wineries I wanted to start from, and decided to figure out the rest on the fly. I also only had about 3 hours available to taste.

I had a bit of a trouble programming my GPS, so I just put whatever address it took. When I arrived at the area called Woodinville Industrial Park, and an electronic voice proclaimed the familiar “you have arrived at your destination”, my first reaction was “wow”!

At the entrance to Woodinville Industrial ParkHow would you, wine geeks and aficionados out there, feel – greeted with such a view? A Christmas in October? Yay! I was looking for the right way to describe my state of mind once I saw all these signs, and the best I could do was “a kid in the candy store” – wow, I can taste all of these – incredible!

It appears that what started less than 10 years ago from only 5 wineries, finding an inexpensive rent in the Industrial Park, became a 60+ setting now (and there are more than 100 wineries in the Woodinville overall). Going from winery to winery, I met very passionate and very talented people, who are living through their dream. Most of the people I met – winemakers and owners – have another full-time job – an engineer, a police officer, a reporter. And despite the fact that winery is “just a hobby” (who am I kidding – it is not, it is a product of obsession), the wines were simply outstanding. I found it also fascinating that at every tasting room I was given a recommendation on what to visit next. I tasted about 40+ wines during this visit overall – and I literally would be glad to drink any one of those wines again and again. Lots of Bordeaux blends, few of the whites, a bit of Syrah – this was a general line up at all the wineries, and again, the wines were beautifully executed, balanced and with the sense of place. The local wines you would be glad to drink all the time.

What I decided to do is not to produce a monster post trying to cram all the impressions into one, but instead, to make a few posts talking about individual wineries. During this trip, I visited Elevation Cellars, Pondera Winery, Des Voigne Cellars, Sparkman Cellars, Guardian CellarsFidélitas, and Mark Ryan Winery – and this is what you should expect to see coming in the next few posts. Therefore, I’m not finishing up this post, but instead, as they like to say, it is “to be continued…”

P.S. Once I started writing this post, I realized that I was really talking about “local wineries”, and “local” is a theme of the Monthly Wine Writing Challenge #12, so let it be my entry into that.

P.P.S. I love the power of the internet – you can link backward, but you can also link forward. As the individual winery posts will be written, I will add the links to the posts under the names above.

  1. October 13, 2014 at 8:28 pm

    I like your idea of local, and I agree that this article needs to be several articles to do the wineries justice, and a chance for you to clear your taste buds.

    • talkavino
      October 14, 2014 at 9:15 am

      Thanks, John – will work on that.

  2. October 13, 2014 at 8:48 pm

    Thanks for the link love. Look forward to reading how your visit went.



    • talkavino
      October 14, 2014 at 9:17 am

      Absolutely! Your post was definitely helpful, as I had no idea where to start otherwise…

  3. October 13, 2014 at 9:57 pm

    Woodinville has definitely become a wine destination; so many wineries across the state have opened a second (or third) tasting room there to capture the tourist traffic. Can’t wait to see what you choose to write about! If you ever have the chance to get to Walla Walla, let me know. Enjoy your visit.

    • talkavino
      October 14, 2014 at 9:19 am

      I understood that Woodinville is a desired destination, but luckily, it didn’t feel too touristy to me ( may be because I visited on Sunday during some big football game 🙂 ). But the sense of passion was incredible.
      I would definitely love to get to Walla Walla – will see how my travel plans will unfold.

  4. October 13, 2014 at 11:21 pm

    I can’t wait to hear what you thought of these wineries. I’ve been to a few; Guardian, Fidelitas, and Mark Ryan. And I’ve had DesVoigne’s wines as well. Also Michael Florentino and Bunnell Family Cellars, which I see in the pic but it doesn’t sound like you go to. So many great wineries all in one place!

    • talkavino
      October 14, 2014 at 9:21 am

      There were way too many wineries to visit in about 3 hours right after the flight from East Coast, so yes, I just took a picture of the sign as I’m not used to such a concentrated winery presence. I could easily spend the whole day there, just going from the door to the door. Great experience for sure. I will try to write about all of my visits – will see how it will turn out.

  5. October 15, 2014 at 5:51 pm

    A great local lead-in, Anatoli . . . will be anxious to read the follow-up posts! (I have a Quilceda Creek allocation — still not sure how I managed that, but I have one. MAN they make good wine!!). What have you had for local food while in WA??

    • talkavino
      October 16, 2014 at 1:26 am

      Thanks, Kirsten! As far as food is concerned, I didn’t have anything dramatically different from what I can find of the East Coast – may be with the exceptions of mussels, which were twice as big (and I don’t mean the shell) compare to anything I had around East Coast. That and the Chanterelle mushrooms, which didn’t appear in the stores where I live…

  6. October 16, 2014 at 11:28 am

    Sorry I missed you! Glad you made it to Sparkman, among others. Cheers:)

    • talkavino
      October 16, 2014 at 4:28 pm

      Do you visit Woodinville often? What are your favorite wineries?

  7. October 19, 2014 at 10:23 am

    Yes…every week…I pour there on occassion :)). Favorites: For sheer artistry – Darby Winery’s Livewire Rosé is the best dry rose this side of Provence, and the La Duece Viognier/Roussanne stuns with its elegance. For Unexpected Delights: Alexandria Nicole’s Late Harvest Muscat. Best Expression of White Burgundy: Forgeron’s Chardonnay. For ambiance: J & M Winery – it’s in an arboretum, plus the staff rocks. Cheers!

    • talkavino
      October 19, 2014 at 12:07 pm

      Very cool! When I will make it there next time, I will have to go by your list.

  8. October 20, 2014 at 1:22 pm

    Goodness – what a find. Looking forward to the next chapter

    • talkavino
      October 20, 2014 at 1:38 pm

      Thanks, Sally! I added new links to the post, so now you can read my impressions of the individual wineries.

  9. Antisocial Patty
    October 20, 2014 at 11:22 pm

    I was there in July with my cousin. It was an amazing way to taste a bunch of wines without traveling between wineries. And then we walked up the block to the brewery where my other cousin was waiting for us. I’m glad you got to experience it! 🙂

    • talkavino
      October 21, 2014 at 6:26 am

      Woodinville definitely seems to be a unique place. And I have to honestly say, I didn’t come across a single bad wine there. I might like some more than the others, but pretty much everything I tasted was very solid. I know where I’m going when next time in Seattle 🙂

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