Looking for a special place to eat, drink, and be merry? Many of Seattle's highlights lie just beyond the city’s limits.
Located in a beautiful river valley just 30 miles from the city, Woodinville offers a small town atmosphere that playfully mixes modern and historical sights, unique activities, and a summer calendar full of festivals.
Woodinville is also the center of Washington state’s nearly 800 wineries, making it the place where palates of every persuasion come to play. In addition to tastings, many of Woodinville’s local wineries offer winemaker dinners, wine clubs, and special events, providing plenty of ways to sip, savor, and shop throughout your getaway.
In our decade of wine tasting tours and limousine service, we've gotten to know Woodinville like the back of our hand and are pleased to be able to share our knowledge with our clients. To help you plan your visit, we've compiled a list of our favorite wineries, restaurants, lodging, and tourist attractions in Woodinville’s four districts.
Our Top 5 Picks for Wine Tasting in Woodinville
Woodinville Wine Country is exploding with tasting rooms, wineries, and wine bars, all together now numbering more than 140. Such a staggering variety can make it tough to get a handle on the best. From the household-name producers to the tucked away family-owned outfits, here are our picks for where to get your wine on in Woodinville:
1. Chateau Ste. Michelle
14111 NE 145th St, Woodinville, WA 98072
Washington state’s oldest winery sits on 105 wooded acres that were once the original Hollywood Farm. If you’re visiting during the warmer months, Chateau Ste. Michelle puts on a popular summer concert series. Otherwise, the winery offers several tours and tastings, including:
- A complimentary behind-the-scenes look at Chateau Ste. Michelle’s winemaking process and tasting.
- Custom, Riesling, or Estate Tasting flights in their wine tasting room. Between $10-$15 per person.
- Library pairing tastings, which demonstrates how to properly pair food with different selections. Costs $30 per person. Appointments are required for this tasting.
- The ultimate tour and tasting allows guests to enjoy premier high-end wines, artfully paired with a variety of artisan cheeses, specialty meats, fresh fruits, and tantalizing sweets. Between $85-$100 per person. Appointments are required for this tasting.
Tours are available daily from 10 am to 5 pm, with no appointment necessary unless your group is larger than 10 or otherwise noted.
If you’re visiting Chateau Ste. Michelle on a Tuesdays and Thursdays between April and October, you’re invited to explore the grounds with their master gardener before participating in an exclusive tasting. Garden tours are available by appointment only.
2. Adams’s Bench
14360 160th Place NE Woodinville, Washington 98072
Straddling a hill above the Hollywood Schoolhouse District is Adam’s Bench, a rare Woodinville winery that exudes an old world wine country feel. Visitors stroll past a manicured lawn, dancing fountain, and barn surrounded by lavender before being welcomed into a years old firelit tasting room. A great pick if you love structured reds. Open by appointment only.
3. William Church Winery
19495 144th Ave NE Woodinville, WA 98072
Established in 2005, award-winning winery William Church is one of the eight original wineries to open in Woodinville’s Warehouse District. The winery now operates two tasting room locations in Woodinville: the original Warehouse District location, which is open on weekends, and another in the Hollywood District, which is open daily.
Taste 2016 Seattle Wine Awards Double Gold winners, William Church Winery 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon and 2012 Sur la Mer.
4. Goose Ridge Estate Vineyard & Winery
16304 Dallas Rd, Richland, WA 99352
One of the largest eastern Washington wineries to open a tasting room in Woodinville, the owners of Goose Ridge Estates have grown grapes for Chateau Ste. Michelle and other wineries for years. Now, their own affordable varietals are getting noticed. Be sure to try their earthy, estate-grown Syrah. Open Sunday through Wednesday, 11 am to 6 pm.
Once you’re at Goose Ridge Estates, make sure that you don’t miss the adjoining Airfield Estates. With a similar background growing for big-name wineries before crafting their own vintages, Airfield Estates offers a tasty unoaked Chardonnay—and a chance for you to learn more about the history of Eastern Washington wineries.
5. Gorman Winery
14505 148th Ave NE, Woodinville, WA 98072
Feeling playful? Wine importer-turned-vintner Chris Gorman’s newly opened winery bucks traditional ambiance in favor of (free) pinball machines and classic rock anthems. Gorman Winery selections boast personality equal to their maker’s, and with descriptions that include “dense,” “chock-full of power,” and a Syrah that “screams Red Mountain” — the region where many of Gorman’s grapes are grown.
Enjoy sitting outdoors on a large cement patio that’s flanked by Station Pizzeria and Patterson Cellars, which makes Gorman Winery a great place to snack on something Italian while sipping something regularly award winning and quintessentially Washington. Open Thursday through Sunday, 1 to 5.
To explore the many more wineries that Woodinville has to offer, check out the Woodinville Wine Country official website: www.woodinvillewinecountry.com/wine/.
The Woodinville area is also home to several microbreweries, including:
- Beardslee Public House and Brewery: A Pacific Northwest-inspired family-friendly eatery that specializes in world-class signature brews made on site.
- Des Voigne Cellars and B-Side Brewing: Woodinville's first full production brewery and winery combined under one roof.
- Redhook Brewery & Forecasters Pub: Red Hook’s expansive grounds are home to multiple events and festivities during the warmer months, including the popular Moonlight Cinema Series.
Interested in making a day of tasting in Woodinville? No need to be concerned with driving, navigating, or knowing where the preferred wineries are—let us handle those logistics for you. As your guide and driver, Starline Town Car & Limousine Service is glad to accommodate your specific requests and winery choices for a group of any size. Request a quote →
Where to Eat in Woodinville?
The Starline limousine experience also extends beyond wineries, and includes visiting your choice of the Woodinville regions artisan eateries and world-class restaurants. Here are a few of our favorites:
Barking Frog offers global wines, a warm, bistro-like setting, and innovative menus that shift to offer each season’s freshest ingredients. Call 425-424-2999 for information and reservations. Priced $60–$80 per person.
The Herbfarm Restaurant
The Herbfarm Restaurant is a legendary (and very upscale) restaurant where diners will enjoy nine-course dinners that are drawn from the gardens and farm itself, as well as small local growers, and matched with locally produced wines. Call 425-485-5300 for information and reservations (required). Priced $180–$200 per person.
Purple Cafe and Wine Bar
For those who enjoy global wines and seasonal ingredients without the international price tag, the Purple Cafe and Wine Bar is a fantastic spot to enjoy the best of the Pacific Northwest’s fare. Call 425-483-7129 for information and reservations. Priced $15–$35 per person.
Casual fare that’s described as “getting a hug from grandma,” Gobble serves up various takes on turkey, including homestyle platters, soups, and meatloaf. Call 425-486-1486 for more information. Priced $10–$15 per person.
The Commons Kitchen & Bar
One of our top picks, The Commons Kitchen & Bar is a new American gastropub that serves up a wide range of perfectly prepared seasonal comfort foods. Choose from classics, like chicken pot pie, or walk on the wild side with an elk burgers. Call 425-892-7012 for more information. Priced $10–$25 per person.
Tourist Attractions In Woodinville
Whether you’re coordinating a weekend getaway for a large group or planning a romantic day trip, chauffeured transportation allows you to sit back, relax, and enjoy everything Woodinville has to offer. Consider some of the area’s additional tourist attractions for an unforgettable experience:
- Learn about the farm-to-fork movement on a farm walk tour of 21 Acres.
- Satisfy your sweet tooth with a tour of Wellington Chocolates — complete with tastings!
- Schedule a private play date at Red Hook’s Adventura, where adults can zipline, climb, and channel their inner child.
- Follow red brick walkways as you stroll through the charming Apple Farm Village, exploring unique shops and restaurants.
- On Saturdays, visitors can choose from locally produced sundries and produce at the Woodinville Farmer's Market.
Woodinville Concerts & Festivals
Woodinville also features live music concerts and festivals throughout the year. Check out an up-to-date calendar of events here: www.woodinvillewinecountry.com/calendar.
Where to Stay in Woodinville Wine Country?
Picture this: You’ve just finished off your last tasting of the day and, despite it having been a beautiful afternoon touring and exploring the area’s wineries, you still feel like you’ve just scratched the surface of what Woodinville has to offer.
Instead of swapping notes with friends and strategizing how to squeeze in just one more tasting room, why not stay the night and delight in local flavors for double the number of days?
From high-end hotels to bed and breakfasts, here are our favorite accommodations to relax after a day of heavy tasting:
The Willows Lodge
This award-winning lodge is located in the Hollywood District, but feels like a secluded, old word vineyard. The Willows Lodge features include a stone fireplace and soaking tub in every room, gorgeous gardens, and easy access to the Sammamish River Trail. Call 877-424-3930 for pricing and reservations.
The Westin Bellevue
The Westin Bellevue is a AAA Four-Diamond, award-winning hotel, located a short drive away in the heart of nearby Bellevue. Step outside for an evening full of shopping, dining, and additional entertainment. Call 800-937-8461 for pricing and reservations.
Baymont Inn and Suites
Affordable comfort that’s located close to the Chateau Ste. Michelle Winery and Redhook Brewery, the Baymont Inn and Suites offers free breakfast and WiFi. Call 425-822-2300 for pricing and reservations.
Cottage Lake Gardens Bed & Breakfast
Cottage Lake Gardens Bed & Breakfast is just five miles from Woodinville is a private botanical garden and plant nursery that doubles as a bed and breakfast. Visitors can rent their own secluded cabin nestled on the east shore of Cottage Lake. Price is $300 a night, with a two-night minimum. Call 425-788-1952 to check availability and make reservations.
Matthews Estate House B & B
A serene location that overlooks Woodinville Valley, Matthews Estate House B&B offers two king-size bedrooms, large commercial kitchen, theater room, private decks, FIOS internet and Satellite Direct TV services. Call 425-487-9810 for pricing and reservations.
Looking for unique accommodations? For a more engaging experience, look into home shares through VRBO and AirBnB that feature stays on ranches, farms, and small vineyards.
5 Tasting Room Tips to Help You Sip With Confidence
If you love wine and are interested in learning more about it, visiting a variety of tasting rooms is the perfect way to gain a straightforward understanding of the essentials of wine.
At each stop along your tour of Woodinville’s wineries, your sommelier will share information about the winemaking process, wine vocabulary, and how to best choose wines that compliment your meal.
However, despite being essentially fermented grape juice, appreciating wine can feel a little intimidating. Here are a few tips to ensure that you can sip and swirl with confidence:
1. Keep an Open Mind When Tasting Different Varietals of Wine
Having set preferences that include disliking reds or whites before you even sit down can limit your tasting experience—and isn’t wine tasting all about trying new flavors?
Instead of going tasting just to reaffirm your likes, take the opportunity to evolve your palate by thinking about the qualities that you like in wine, other beverages, and food.
If you have a sweet tooth, you might already gravitate toward Muscat, Chenin Blanc, and Riesling. But many Merlots, Syrahs, and California Pinot Noirs are fruit-forward, and your palate will perceive those strawberry, raspberry, and blueberry notes as sweet.
2. Remember the Difference Between Drinking and Tasting Wine
The difference between wine drinking (while you jovially eat and talk), and wine tasting is like speed reading a poem versus being attentive to its poetic details.
That’s not to say that tasting rituals of peering, sniffing, and sipping must be performed with a quiet reverence, but there are a few techniques to help you better focus on the characteristics of wine, and enjoy all its complexities:
- Look at the wine; evaluate for color and clarity.
- Smell the wine and decide whether swirling your glass will release more aromatics. Begin swirling to open up tight wines that have just been poured.
- Taste the wine, letting the liquid roll across your palate and sipping in a little air if you’re comfortable.
Then let the fun begin. What flavors stand out to you? Is it sweet or dry? The best part about wine tasting is deciding what it means to you. Perhaps you identify minerality and ripe, red fruit. Or maybe instead of tasting words, the wine triggers a memory of standing in the rain as a child or eating berries off the vine.
Remember, there’s no right way to identify the nuanced tastes of a wine. But, you’ll walk away from your wine tasting far more satisfied if you take the time to think about and discuss what you’ve tasted, even if you hated it in the end.
3. Never Trust Your First Sip!
Despite just being told to focus all your attention on what’s in your glass, we’re going to throw you a curveball: never trust your first sip of wine.
That’s because your taste will have been strongly influenced by what you last had in your mouth. If it was toothpaste or gum, it doesn’t take much to imagine how your palate will react to an acidic beverage. However, there are other, less obvious, influences that can throw your palate off kilter.
At the top of this list are coffee, mints, and chocolate. While dark chocolate does enhance the flavor of some wines, those aren’t the ones that would start off a tasting flight.
If you’ve recently tasted something with a strong flavor, the best fix is to chew on some bread or an unseasoned cracker. Then rinse, and you’re ready for takeoff. That being said...
4. Don’t Rinse Your Palate in Between Tastes
It may seem instinctive to pour yourself a little water between each wine tasting and rinse your glass, but in actuality, there’s no need. Every tasting room will order the wines from light in body and alcohol, to heavy and strong.
Can’t stand another sip? If you don’t want to finish your taste it is perfectly appropriate to pour the remainder into the dump bucket.
5. Ask to Revisit Your Favorites
It’s perfectly appropriate, after completing a wine tasting, to ask if you can “revisit” one of the options. If you are considering buying a bottle, it’s a good idea to go back and see if your perception of the wine has changed.
This is a good time to ask more questions about how many cases were produced and how many are remaining (if it’s something you love, more than one bottle is a good idea).
Also, you can jot down the features you like in the wine—grassy, mineral, acidic—and use those descriptors to guide future selections.
What’s the Best Way to Tour Woodinville Wine Country?
Can’t find a designated driver and don't want to listen to your increasingly-merry friends sing and talk wine while you sip water during multiple tours?
Consider hiring Starline Town Car & Limousine Service – our professional chauffeurs provide a high-end experience, while ensuring that everyone in your party can safely indulge to enjoy the bounty of wineries and festivals that Woodinville has to offer.
Starline Can Accommodate Groups of Two to Parties of Twenty
Whether you’re an intimate party of two or a group of 20, Starline’s diverse fleet of new and late-model luxury vehicles can accommodate any number of passengers in equal comfort. For those who want to make sure they ride in style, we encourage you to explore our fleet, which includes a new Tesla Model S, Chrysler 300, Lexus LS, Suburban & Escalade SUVs, and a selection of limousines, party buses and Ford Krystal Koach executive bus to accommodate larger groups.
Think it can’t get any better? Unlike large group tours, Starline offers logistical support and well-connected staff to keep your wine tour getaway feeling personal and spontaneous.
How Much Does it Cost to Tour Woodinville in Starline’s Limo, SUV or Party Bus?
Pricing for Woodinville wine tasting limo tours is per hour and depends on which vehicle is reserved for your group. Because this can vary widely, we request that you call our customer service at 206-261-1191 for an accurate quote.
If you’re heading to Woodinville to catch one of the summer concert series headlining acts, there’s no need to race to the front seat. Instead, consider one of our popular sedans or SUVs that can fit your entire group in comfort.
Woodinville concert limousine transportation is priced at a flat rate by drop-off and pick-up and depends on your location. Again, please give our customer service a call at 206-261-1191 for an accurate quote.
You may also use our online form to get a quote. We are usually very quick to repond.
Header image credit: Verrazzano Estate via vinelines.com