The Best Wineries in Woodinville
The wine epicenter of Western Washington dates back to the 1970s. Today, change is sweeping the area, from new tasting districts to the uncertain future of Chateau Ste. Michelle. In other words, Woodinville has plenty of exciting new developments, but also some reasons to come back, time after time, to enjoy.
Hollywood District / Warehouse District / Downtown and Woodin Creek Village / Eastern Washington Post Offices
Betz Family Winery of the Hollywood District
Now firmly in its second decade, the Betz Family dedicates itself to high-end Bordeaux and Rhône-style wines. Cabernet sauvignon is fine. Four syrahs showcase distinction in the state’s best vineyards and appellations, while the garnet-heavy Besoleil drinks like a cup of fresh fruit. The tasting room is currently open to wine list members only.
Now that he no longer owns DeLille Cellars, Greg Lill has reclaimed the estate-style building that once housed his former winery. Today it is a picturesque center for weddings and events, but also conducts tastings of wines sourced from other well-known local wineries, but poured under the Chateau Lill label. In the warmer months, tastings take place in the garden, or you can stroll the property, glass in hand.
Chateau Ste. Michelle Winery
Yes, some or all of this wine region’s foundational castle is potentially up for sale, but the winery is committed to its 2023 concert calendar season. And, uncertainty aside, it remains a great place to visited in Woodinville. Throughout its operation, Ste. Michelle has been the state leader in producing good wines at every price point. A $12 bottle? A stunning single vineyard sauvignon blanc? The canteen has both. The $10 dry Riesling is easily the best value in the state, if not the country.
DeLille Cellars Housed in a new comprehensive tasting room (with a patio) in the old Redhook Brewery, DeLille is an exceptionally fine setting for wine tasting. But wherever you taste, the winery offers an embarrassment of riches. Chaleur Blanc, a blend of sauvignon blanc and sémillon, is exceptionally exceptional every year. Other jewels in the crown include Chaleur Estate, a full expression of Red Mountain, and Harrison Hill red wine, from some of the oldest vines in the state. A new restaurant next door, Lounge at DeLille Cellars, comes with a full food menu. Gorman Winery When you visit the Gorman Winery tasting room, you can put on a guitar and play. Owner and winemaker Chris Gorman likes to turn up the volume in the glass, too, with decadent Red Mountain reds and full-bodied, heady chardonnays. Guardian Cellars Jerry Riener, owner of Guardian, is a police officer who began spending all his off-duty hours volunteering at local wineries. In 2007, he opened Guardian and has helped embody the Woodinville style: delicious and fruity. Jaine Cottage The team behind Matthews Winery launched this new project, which will eventually focus on white, rosé and sparkling styles (they currently pour whites and a few reds from Matthews). The wines are fresh and straightforward, seeing no new oak, with a tasting room that is quite bright and comfortable. Mark Ryan Winery
Winemaker Mark McNeilly made a name for himself in the early 2000s creating uniformly excellent red blends, with ripe fruit and big tannic structures, from the famous Ciel du Cheval Vineyard in Red Mountain. He’s still at it; few do it better. This year, the tasting room will move to a new building on the campus of the former Redhook Brewery.
Matthews is one of Woodinville’s longest-running wineries. Yes, with its “Bordeaux-inspired” label, you know cabernet sauvignon is important here, but sauvignon blanc is also a standout. The winery recently brought in a new winemaking team from Quilceda Creek.
Novelty Hill–Januik Few have been making wine in Washington longer than Mike Januik (first release: 1984). Fewer people have his track record of excellence. Januik and its sister winery Novelty Hill make a wide selection—with outstanding cabernet sauvignon and chardonnay. But the real story here is unwavering consistency: You know it’s going to be good. Sparkman Cellars This winery is known for its hedonistic releases, such as Bordeaux-style blends. But co-owner Chris Sparkman paints from a diverse palette, experimenting with everything from touriga nacional to sangiovese. In 2020, the winery moved its production and tasting room into the former Redhook Brewery building, a facility that accommodates events large and small, plus a spacious patio. Avennia Wine District Warehouse
In just 10 years, Avennia has established itself as one of the state’s best wineries, committed to using old-vine grapes and early harvests, giving the products a distinctly old-world edge, delicious but with lots of fruit. Recently, the winery has added some Red Mountain offers to its repertoire.
Callan Cellars winemaker Lisa Callan has made her mark so far with whites, particularly picpoul and grenache blanc — highly acidic varietals that depart fascinatingly from Woodinville’s big bold red idiom. Cedergreen Cellars Cedergreen has been making wine since the early 2000s, but only recently opened its first tasting room. Look for a palate dressing of aged chenin blanc and gamay noir, both rare in this condition. Damsel Cellars Boushey Vineyard always grows some of the state’s best Rhône-style grapes. But to taste something truly transformative from that fruit, look to winemaker Damsel Mari Womack’s blend, The Fates. JM Cellars No Woodinville winery can match the beauty of the JM Bramble Bump tasting room, with its private seven-acre arboretum, walking trails and pond. The top-shelf wines—especially Red Mountain, Yakima Valley, and Walla Walla Valley reds—are just as beautiful. Kevin White Winery
Owner and winemaker Kevin White’s hard work allows him to offer the best value-for-money wines in the state. But it’s about his clean, fruit-driven wines. Some, such as the Blue Label wine that looks like a steal, can sell out in less than a week. A new tasting room offers a gently enhanced experience.
Lobo Hills winemaker Tony Dollar offers plenty of reds, but his crisp, lively whites consistently draw attention, from a fruity and crisp sauvignon blanc to the distinctive (in this state) auxerrois. Passing Time Winery Former NFL players Dan Marino and local Damon Huard teamed up with the extremely talented Chris Peterson (Avennia) to create a series of appellation-specific cabernet sauvignons. The excellent wines prove that this is no vanity project. Pomum Cellars/Idlico Rocket scientist-turned-winemaker Javier Alfonso was born in Sunnyside, Washington, but grew up in Spain. At Pomum, he works with more conventional Washington grapes. In Idilico, he explores the possibilities of the state’s Spanish varieties. Quiddity Wines Greg Pieker likes Rhône-style wines enough to make them the focus of Quiddity – a word for the essential nature of a thing. Pieker made his inaugural wines during an internship at the Northwest Wine Academy, and it appears he graduated at the top of his class. These are some of the most exciting new wines to come out of Washington in recent years. Cellars with glass
Sean Boyd, formerly the longtime winemaker at Woodinville Wine Cellars, excels at stainless steel-aged sauvignon blanc and chardonnay, as well as very fine red wines.
Two Vintners co-owner and winemaker Morgan Lee offers plenty of variety, but his Rhône-style wines always rise to the top, annually among the best in the state. Columbia Valley Syrah is a great value. So is the Make Haste Cinsault, which also happens to be one of the few cinsaults you’ll find in Washington. Lee has a lively style, allowing the fruit and vines to shine. WT Vintners Winemaker by day, sommelier at Seattle’s RN74 by night, Jeff Lindsay-Thorsen makes wines suitable for vineyards and food. It is withdrawn from the oak and places the fruit picked earlier, when the acids are still fresh and alive. The results are distinct, and obviously excellent. Downtown and Woodin Creek Village
Baer Winery Since 2000, Baer has produced two wines that embody classic Washington styles—the merlot and cabernet franc-dominant Ursa and the cabernet-driven Arctos. For a next step, try rare (for here) unripened chardonnay. Upstairs: The winery has another tasting room in the warehouse district. Brian Carter Cellars
This winery, now open in the new Woodin Creek Village, is dedicated to the art of blending. The premier cabernet sauvignon-based Solesce is one for the cellar. That might not sound radical, but the winemakers here like to experiment, exploring styles from Spain, Italy, Bordeaux, Rhône and beyond.
More Greater Woodinville tasting rooms
Can’t make it to Walla Walla? Many wineries from Eastern Washington have established satellite locations here.
Long Shadows Great wine in a beautiful tasting room. Fidelitas Wines One of the new residents of the former Redhook Brewery campus. Bookwalter Winery The Tri-Cities area winery is known for its top-notch reds and whites. L’Ecole No 41 The stalwart added the first non-Walla Walla tasting room in downtown Woodinville. Valdemar Estates Part of Walla Walla’s impressive new guardhouse also has a downtown location. Pepper Bridge Another high-end Walla Walla winery, set up behind Hollywood School.
Methods: To compile this list, Sean P. Sullivan selected wineries based on the overall quality of their wines, focusing primarily on those that are local to the area, versus satellite tasting rooms.