Woodinville is a small town situated approximately 17 miles northeast of Seattle. Settled by the Woodin family in the late 1800’s, it was originally a logging town that has now evolved into a leafy suburb of Seattle. Heavily wooded and still rural in feel, towering cedars and firs have ensured that Woodinville has been designated a Tree City USA since 1995. The town slogan is “Country Living, City Style”. Housing can range from live/work units in the downtown area to large equestrian estates radiating from the center of town.
Today Woodinville is best known for its more than 100 wineries and tasting rooms. Most wines are made right here in Woodinville, but a few are tasting rooms from wineries on the other side of the Cascades, where most of the grapes are sourced. Running the gamut from the large French style buildings of Chateau Ste Michelle to the industrial-chic tilt-ups in the Woodinville Warehouse District, you can find large and boutique wineries to suit your every preference. Winemaker dinners, wine clubs, tastings and other special events are sponsored by wineries and tasting rooms in the area. St. Nick’s Open House in December and the Taste & Tunes Warehouse Party Summer Kick-off in July are just two events sponsored by the wine district. Chateau Ste Michelle sponsors a summer concert series on the winery grounds, where you can enjoy a picnic on a blanket while watching various artists perform on their outdoor stage.
Is beer more to your liking? Try the Redhook Brewery and Forecasters Pub located in the tourism district. With excellent handcrafted beers on draught, including special seasonal brews, daily tours, an outdoor deck for sunny days and a redesigned interior for those not-so-sunny ones, Redhook is a great place to enjoy a casual meal or drink with friends. Smaller breweries Triplehorn, Dirty Bucket, Twelve Bars and Brickyard round out your choices. The smaller breweries don’t serve food, but several have local restaurants that can deliver to your table!
The creativity doesn’t end with beer and wine. Several distilleries have opened in the Woodinville area. Soft Tail Spirits has a tasting room for gin and grappa, Pacific Distillery, makers of absinthe, is open noon to five on Saturdays, and Woodinville Whiskey Company tastes their whiskey and vodka in their new distillery attached to The Hollywood Tavern.
Finding an enjoyable place to have a bite after tasting is easier than ever. Woodinville is home to world-famous The Herbfarm, a restaurant ranked by National Geographic as the Number 1 destination restaurant in the world, and Food and Wine ranked chef Keith Luce as one of the 10 Best Chefs in the United States. Nine seasonally inspired courses paired with Northwest wines (or delicious non-alcoholic alternatives for the non-drinker) served over approximately 4 hours, it is a dining experience to be savored. The Barking Frog is another well-know Pacific Northwest eatery, with an outdoor patio and beautiful indoor circular fire pit. Their highly regarded menu has a local food flair, and their wine list has been awarded the Wine Spectator’s Award of Excellence for five years. The Hollywood Tavern started life as a service station, but was converted to a tavern in the 1940′s. It has been renovated inside and out by the owner of Seattle’s famous food truck company Skillet, with burgers and sandwiches served with local wines and cocktails. Another service station-turned-eatery is The Station Pizzeria offering wood-fired pizzas and other fare. Village Wines offers a large wine list and a tapas style menu of delicious bites, and has live music Friday and Saturday evenings. Purple Cafe has a full service restaurant and wine and cheese flights available for eating around their delightful fireplace. The Collective on Tap serves light fare and a selection of 41 taps of rotating beers.
Want to extend your stay in Woodinville? The luxurious Willows Lodge is located on the Sammamish River, and you can enjoy a deluxe week-end without ever leaving the property. The on-site spa and outdoor art set amid the tranquil gardens are a treat. The Herbfarm and Barking Frog are located on the property as well. Matthews Estate offers a guest house situated above their winery and tasting room. It has two bedrooms with a home theater and can also be reserved for private events. Looking for a more intimate place to stay? Auberge Edge of Seattle Bed and Breakfast is a delightful French style inn located in rural Woodinville. Why not combine your stay with one of their French specialty cookery class? Cottage Lake Gardens Bed and Breakfast is a lake-front home set among well-known gardens with access to fishing and swimming. Private, relaxing, a perfect way to extend your wine-tasting experience.
Enjoyed Woodinville so much that you would like to bring home a souvenir? Molbak’s Home+Garden in the downtown district is a famous nursery and home goods store. They offer specialty plants, house plants, cookware and holiday decorations filling the outdoors and indoor greenhouses. That much shopping making you tired and hungry? The Garden Café by Russell Lowell’s Catering offers everything from oven-fired pizzas to hot chocolate and homemade cookies.
The outdoors is what draws a lot of people to the Pacific Northwest, and Woodinville doesn’t disappoint in that regard. The Sammamish River Trail runs through the town and continues on to join the Burke-Gilman trail that terminates in Ballard on the Puget Sound. Popular with bikers, runners and walkers, it passes by parks, wineries, the brewery, and the many kayakers (and otters) who take advantage of a peaceful paddle on the river. Equestrian trails dot the town, and if you want to get away from it all, why not rise above it in a hot air balloon? These iconic balloons are a common sight floating over the beautiful Sammamish River Valley on a summer’s eve.