In the Summer issue of Wine Press Northwest, we put together "100 Great Northwest Wine Destinations' for wine lovers to consider as they travel throughout Washington, Oregon, British Columbia and Idaho. In this week's column, we look at the 10 destination wineries we put in the spotlight.
We enjoy visiting wineries of all sizes, but to be a “destination winery,” you have to do things on a grand scale. Here are 10 Northwest wineries worth planning a weekend around.
Mission Hill Family Estate: The architecture of Mission Hill is nothing short of stunning, as it resembles a Tuscan hill town from afar. Enjoy a meal at the Terrace restaurant, sip John Simes’ award-winning wines, and soak in a wine-country experience like no other. 1730 Mission Hill Road, West Kelowna, B.C., 250-768-6498, www.missionhillwinery.com.
Maryhill Winery: Atop basalt cliffs, this winery in the Columbia Gorge dramatically overlooks the Columbia River and provides a delicious view of Mount Hood. Just below the tasting room is a 4,000-seat amphitheater, where national music acts perform each summer. 9774 state Route 14, Goldendale, Wash., 877-627-9445, www.maryhillwinery.com.
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Tsillan Cellars: Bob Jankelson was inspired by visits to Italy and created one of the most dramatic and beautiful wineries in the Northwest. Tsillan features 40 acres of vines, waterfalls and Sorrento’s, a stunning on-site restaurant that is open year-round. 3875 Highway 97-A, Chelan, Wash., 509-682-9463, www.tsillancellars.com.
Domaine Drouhin Oregon: In the 1970s and early ’80s, Oregon was trying to find its place in the wine world. It knew it arrived when famed Burgundian Robert Drouhin built a winery in the Dundee Hills. For years, the winery was rarely open to visitors, but now you can experience an operation that helped change everything. 6750 Breyman Orchards Road, Dayton, Ore., 503-864-2700, www.domainedrouhin.com.
Basel Cellars Estate Winery: This stone and wood lodge overlooks state Route 125 and turns more heads than any other winery in the Walla Walla Valley. Beyond is a swimming pool, tennis court and winemaker Justin Basel’s estate vineyards. 2901 Old Milton Highway, Walla Walla, Wash., 509-522-0200, www.baselcellars.com.
Chateau Ste. Michelle: The Northwest’s original destination winery opened in 1976 and annually attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors. Nearly 30 years ago, CSM was the only winery in Woodinville. Thanks to the chateau, this community now is home to more than 50 wineries and tasting rooms. 14111 N.E. 145th St., Woodinville, Wash., 425-488-1133, www.ste-michelle.com.
King Estate Winery: Ed King set the standard for aviation radio just after World War II, and his family launched Oregon’s iconic winery in the Lorane Valley in 1991. Its bucolic 1,033 acres are certified organic, with sheep and raptors providing maintenance. 80854 Territorial Road, Eugene, Ore., 541-942-9874, www.kingestate.com.
Ste. Chapelle: Opened in 1976, Ste. Chapelle has helped nurture the Idaho wine industry by crafting premium wines at remarkable prices. The winery is named after La Sainte Chapelle in Paris, and the building is modeled after it. There’s plenty of room for picnics, and the winery plays host to summer concerts. 19348 Lowell Road, Caldwell, Idaho, 208-453-7843, stechapelle.com.
Terra Blanca Winery: Keith and ReNae Pilgrim launched Terra Blanca on Red Mountain in the mid-1990s with the idea of creating something special. The winery facility they finished in 2006 is nothing short of stunning. It provides 18,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor banquet space and relies on several local caterers to provide cuisine equal to the views. 34715 N. DeMoss Road, Benton City, Wash., 509-588-6082, www.terra blanca.com.
Three Rivers Winery: In addition to great wine, Three Rivers offers a relaxing atmosphere, a large tasting room and a concert venue. It’s also the only winery in the Northwest with a three-hole golf course you can play for free. 5641 W. Highway 12, Walla Walla, Wash., 509-526-9463, www.three riverswinery.com.
Andy Perdue and Eric Degerman are the editors of Wine Press Northwest. For more information, go to www.winepressnw.com.