Editor's note: This piece was originally posted on Seattle Local Mom Blog.
This past March, for my birthday, my husband and I did a wine-tasting overnight date in Woodinville Wine Country. We went all out, got a sitter and booked a night at the acclaimed Willows Lodge. The entire Woodinville wine country is charming, with award-winning wineries scattered about, all within walking distance from each other.
This was an inaugural Woodinville wine-tasting experience for us both, so we did a little research beforehand and got some pointers from friends about what to check out. First stop- DeLille Cellars. DeLille’s Carriage House tasting venue was simple and provincial-chic, and the tasting tent outside had a European country essence with wooden barrels and fresh flowers.
Next we checked into the Willows Lodge, where we were greeted with a complimentary glass of wine, a map of all the wineries, recommendations and a handful of tasting passes. Rustic and warm, where the wine flows freely, Willows Lodge is all rich wood, stone fireplaces and soaking tubs for two.
Settled amongst gorgeous gardens, it’s a stone’s throw to the highly acclaimed Barking Frog and The Herbfarm, and walking distance to many wineries. We packed a mini picnic for the room (apparently I love picnics - read more here). Cheeses, salami, grapes and crackers … a bit of a snack to hold us over for the next winery).
We headed across the road to Chateau Ste. Michelle (did I mention that you can walk everywhere?). The mansion is magnificent, and under the steely sky, appeared hauntingly beautiful.
The wine specialists were so friendly and welcoming, taking the time to chat with us about their different wines (because, I have to admit, we aren’t the most sophisticated wine people -- Carlo Rossi during college, anyone?) These days it’s about finding a great sale on wines at QFC. Needless to say, we learned a lot; their prosecco was delicious and my husband realized he’s not a fan of sauvignon blanc. Huh.
On to Mark Ryan Winery. The tasting room has a definitively urban feel, wrapped in polished wood and chalkboard menus. I had my favorite glass of wine there (Long Haul), and the ping-pong table was an unexpected hit. It was like playing bar games at an incredibly upscale dive. (Note: The Mark Ryan Cellars isn’t anything close to a dive, but rather one of the most sophisticatedly cool tasting rooms I’ve been in). And the ping-pong table is awesome.
Woodinville Wine Country has some options for food, from Italian to Mexican to American. We decided to keep it simple and hit up The Station Pizzeria for some stellar wood-fired pizza. Kid- and family-friendly, it’s a place we could come back to with a kiddo in tow. (Or three in February).
Other great bets for your stay:
*It’s not all about wine. Woodinville is also home to four distilleries, like the Woodinville Whiskey Co.
The next morning, on our way back to reality, kids and $7 bottles of clearance wine, we stopped by The French Bakery At The Vineyard; it's such a hidden gem! Cozy and warm with the essence of strong coffee and buttery croissants, it was the perfect way to end a spectacular overnight date.
Cheers to Woodinville Wine Country. If you have a favorite winery there that I didn’t mention, please share it in the comments below.
About the author: A born-and-raised Seattle girl, Allison Holm spent her “early years” satisfying her wanderlust and now lives in Kirkland with her husband, 3-year-old son and (most would say) too many pets. A freelance writer, serious coffee lover (who isn’t?) and jogging stroller enthusiast, Allison loves to get out and explore her city, especially through the eyes of her child. Find more of her stories on Seattle Local Mom Blog, where this post originally appeared.