California for top wineries? Of course.
But Washington is hot on their trail, and in some ways even more wonderful!
Living in the Pacific Northwest, we are fortunate to have access (and I do mean frequent access – we’re admitted winos) to some of the best wineries in North America. My current favs:
- Novelty Hill Januik – By far the coolest, hippest and best sunshine hang-out with great wine. If you’re there on the weekend, go for lunch and order a handmade pizza while you taste their yummy vino. Grab a bottle of your top tasting choice, and sit outside while you nosh and enjoy a healthy dose of sunshine and bocci ball. Let’s just say, we’re regulars. And BTW, like most club memberships, you’ll taste for free. I’d recommend hanging with Candy, she’s the best behind the tasting counter. If you’re around on Wednesdays, they have live music for “Wednesday Wine’d Down.”
- Chateau Ste Michelle – Not exactly boutique, but CSM has stunningly beautiful grounds. If you’re a club member, you can sneak into a no-line tasting room to enjoy the latest sips free of charge. Then grab a bottle, picnic blanket and some snacks from the winery store and soak in the well-manicured, peacock dwelling, relaxing location. And oh yes, don’t forget to watch for the Summer Concert schedule. Big names grace this small winery for warm summer outdoor concerts. Da bomb.
- Darby – Small tasting room off the main strip that stays open later than all the others. It’s a trendy joint, with industrial decor and cool chicks serving up Darby’s tastiest. We tend to make it our last stop, and enjoy chatting with Mary while she pours our sips. Every now again, you’ll see Darby there. Don’t be shocked when you discover how young (and wildly talented) he is.
- Efeste – Another boutique favorite. “Big Papa” Dan and his lovely wife of 40+ years Helen are there every day serving up great wine and friendly conversation. At Efeste, they “celebrate family tradition, union of friendship, and passion for great wine and food.” Nuff said.