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The Ultimate Wine Lovers’ Road Trip Through Washington State

While the USA’s Pacific Northwest is well known for its natural beauty thanks to its stunning mountainous landscapes, it is also emerging as a leading destination for wine travel. Discover the ultimate Washington road trip for budding oenophiles, from Seattle to Walla Walla and Yakima, via Woodinville, and beyond.

As the second largest wine producing state in the US after California, this under-the-radar destination is where in-the-know wine aficionados head to for a chance to unwind and sample some of the nation’s best Chardonnays and Cabernet Sauvignons.

Stop 1: Downtown Seattle

Nestled on Elliot Bay between two mountain ranges, Seattle lives up to its moniker of The Emerald City, due to the lush green landscapes that surround it. This vibrant, cosmopolitan gateway to Washington state is the first port of call for visitors, with dozens of urban wineries within the city limits. It’s the perfect place to start sampling the state’s 70+ varietals, with a great volume of Washington’s wine ending up in the Seattle area tasting rooms.

From wineries, tours, and plenty of wine bars to choose from, there’s something for everyone, from novice to connoisseur. Check out The Tasting Room, located in the heart of the historic Pike Place Market – a must-see for all visitors. The old world-style wine bar serves only winemaker-owned produce, with passionate servers reflecting the wines’ distinct personalities.

Stay at the Kimpton Hotel Vintage

Rustic meets elegant at this four-star hotel located in the heart of the downtown area. With a distinct wine theme, the hotel is the self-proclaimed ‘urban outpost of Washington wine country’, offering nightly tastings and a concierge who doubles as a certified sommelier.

Stop 2: Woodinville

Just a 30-minute drive away from downtown Seattle lies Woodinville Wine Country. A haven for wine lovers and adventurers, it offers diverse tasting experiences at more than 130 wineries spread across four districts. The Woodinville downtown area buzzes with energy, boasting picturesque streets and vibrant tasting rooms, while the Warehouse District showcases a behind-the-scenes look at the artistry and craftsmanship that goes into every bottle.

Chateau Ste. Michelle in the Hollywood District epitomises the region’s wine culture. The oldest and most-acclaimed winery in Washington, the stunning chateau offers tours, tastings and food and wine pairings, as well as live music concerts in the summer. Beyond wine, Woodinville offers a culinary playground with farm-to-table delicacies from the fertile Sammamish River Valley, while outdoors enthusiasts can try activities like hiking and hot-air balloon rides. In Woodinville, wine represents more than just a beverage—it embodies craftsmanship, community, and the joy of discovery, inviting both seasoned enthusiasts and novices to savour its pleasures.

Stay at Willows Lodge

Nestled on five landscaped acres bordering the Sammamish River in Woodinville, Willows Lodge is perfectly placed to explore the area’s wineries and tasting rooms, this cosy retreat includes a full-service spa, as well as two award-winning restaurants, Barking Frog and the internationally-renowned Herbfarm.  

Stop 3: Yakima

Head into central Washington State to discover Yakima Valley, the lush agricultural region that boasts fresh produce and plenty of wine tasting opportunities. With more than 90 wineries and five AVAs within 70 miles, there is endless choice for wine lovers. Visitors should try Terra Blanca for upscale food and wine pairings, Treveri Cellars for sparkling varietals, or Kiona Vineyards that sit within the Red Mountain AVA.

Autumn is the perfect time to visit for the Annual Sip and Stroll festival in downtown Yakima in early November. This event is for wine lovers, as well as those partial to beer and cider as well. Sip and Stroll brings together all the key players of the Yakima area craft beverage world, for locals and visitors to taste everything from brand-new wine releases to seasonal beers, all while getting to support local businesses.

Stay at the Desert Wind Winery Inn and Restaurant

Located in the heart of wine country overlooking the Yakima River, Desert Wind has an onsite tasting room and restaurant. Guests will enjoy hand-crafted wines that celebrate estate-grown vineyards in the Wahluke Slope AVA.

Stop 4: Walla Walla 

A two-hour drive further southeast is Walla Walla, known for world-class Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah. Home to nearly 3,000 acres of grapes, it offers more than 120 wineries stemming from a huge range of varietals ready to be explored. Wineries and tasting rooms are spread throughout six key districts, with dozens of tasting rooms available in the city’s charming downtown area.

Time a visit for early November to catch the Fall Release Weekend, all weekend, wineries throughout the area host special events to debut new wines and allow visitors the chance to meet the winemakers themselves and sample new batches. 

Stay at The Marcus Whitman Hotel

Here, visitors are surrounded by the grandeur of the early 19th Century in this historic hotel. Conveniently located in the centre of downtown, guests can easily walk to restaurants, tasting rooms, shops, and cultural spots.

Book to visit Washington during the crush season in late September here. Travel from Seattle through the state to Yakima and Walla Walla for €1,700 per person including direct flights, car hire and for nights accommodation.

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