Best Wineries to Visit in Woodinville?
I'm visiting the Woodinville wineries for the first time over Labor Day weekend. I'm going on Friday, since I can't go on Saturday, and found that the following wineries are open:
Woodinville Wine Cellars
Chateau Ste Michelle
Woodhouse Family Cellars
I sincerely doubt that I'll make it to all of those in one day, so I could use some help in determining which wineries to prioritize-- I definitely want to go to Delille and Chateau Ste Michelle, but aside from that, I don't know! Any suggestions?
Columbia Winery is right across the street from Chateau Ste. Michelle so you should at least make a quick stop there! Also on the other side of the railroad tracks from the Columbia is the Redhook Brewery and Alehouse where you can get food if your hungry at that point. You will see all three of these as you drive up the road from Woodinville.
The Columbia Winery tour was worth the effort, the staff was warm and friendly. They are across the street from Chateau Ste Michelle and we spent the better part of the afternoon drinking at the Columbia Winery instead.
I was in Woodinville about a year ago and, it may be my personal opinion, but I would avoid Chateau Ste Michelle. For my tast it is much too big. If you were going on a brewery tour would you visit the Budweiser Factory? Brian Carter had some of the best blends that I have ever tasted and Janiuk/Novelty Hill was fantastic. Really enjoyed the staff at both as well. Just my opinion but I would definately hit those again next time I am there.
A friend highly recommended Brian Carter as well.
I checked out the Januik/Novelty Hill one a few months ago and loved it. Very modern building with unique grounds. We did a tasting inside and then got glass pours of our favourites and hung out outside. Highly recommend checking them out.
Delille is only open by appointment, Woodinville Wine Cellars website says the same. Januik and Novelty Hill are together and worth a visit. Silver Lake is pretty low end. Brian Carter and Woodhouse are doing nice wines. I would skip both Ste Michelle and Columbia unless you want a tour and a more "Chateau" experience. They don't pour their better wines for tastings. Columbia has actually lost their lease and will be moving out at some point. They seem to still be doing tastings at this point.
I haven't been to Matthews, but I do enjoy their wine... that's probably not helpful though.
You could pose this question to the wine board, though I don't know how many of them have visited Woodinville. They are very knowledgable though.
I recently went on a monday to Columbia, Januik/Novelty Hill and Silver Lake. The most interesting wines and selection of the three was definitely Silver Lake. We did multiple tastings, they were far more relaxed, it actually seemed like they wanted us to try wines and enjoy. Columbia and J/NH were both nicer facilities but felt like they didn't care about us enjoying the wine. All in all, I actually preferred the wines at SL as well.
I live 15 minutes north of the wineries and we go there all the time. On your list, I would go to Matthews, Janiuk/Novelty Hill, Silver Lake and Woodhouse. We are partial to big reds, which accounts for our recommendation. Silver Lake has a number of more inexpensive wines that we like for parties and daily drinkers.
We also go to the wineries frequently - love the release parties. We stopped going to Silver Lake because of a dreadful tasting experience with one of the owners who was doing the pouring. She seemed really annoyed that we were taking her time, gave us no information and was actually rude. We think there is a lot better wine being produced in Woodinville, but having to go on a Friday does limit the choices. I might also recommend checking out one of the new tasting rooms, Senoj, they may be open and don't charge.