Picture driving by rolling hills covered with green vineyards, sipping your way through tasting rooms, many with spectacular mountain vistas, and explore walkable downtowns where you can easily sample a variety of restaurant completely car-free. Add on accommodations close to the wine action, and you’ve got the makings for the perfect holiday.
If your style of vacation means exploring wine country, here are some fabulous choices for getting your wine on in the Pacific Northwest.
Wineries in the Pacific Northwest
The Willows Lodge — Woodinville, Washington
One glance at the estate grounds at Chateau Ste. Michelle and it’s easy to see why it’s the grand dame of Washington wine country. Not only is it the state’s oldest winery, but their French-style chateau in Woodinville surrounded by 105 acres includes a tasting room, gift shop, and an expansive garden with resident peacocks. Spend the day tasting and touring the winery or go one step further and enroll in one of their classes, such as learning how to blend wines. (My personal favorite is to experience the winery by attending a concert at their outdoor venue.)
If you want more, there are over 100 wineries in Woodinville, and a great way to sip and sample is to reserve a spot on the Woodinville After Hours. The event runs twice a month, June to October, and includes tastings at 12 wineries.
Across the street from Chateau Ste. Michelle is The Willows Lodge. The elegant lodge-style hotel features rooms with two-person soaking tubs, stone fireplaces and private balconies or patios, some with garden views. You’ll find everyone from the concierge to the restaurant’s wait staff is well-versed in the area and its wine.
A short walk or complimentary bike ride away, are over two dozen tasting rooms. With the hotel’s handy walking wine map, you’ll be on your way to places like Columbia Winery, which also offers wine education classes, and Novelty Hill and Januik where they share the same tasting room and outdoor patio.
For a more in-depth experience, join one of the hotel’s WineVenture guided tours on the weekend. After your day of tasting, dine at the Barking Frog at the lodge, or reserve a spot at the neighboring restaurant, The Herbfarm, for a nine-course wine tasting dinner.
trivago tip: If you want a frighteningly fun challenge, the aerial adventure park Adventura is a short walk from the lodge. Or, if heights at a leisurely pace sound more appealing, see the sunrise or sunset in a hot air balloon with Over the Rainbow.
Suncadia Resort — Roslyn, Washington
Swiftwater Cellars is easy to fall in love with. Not only for their wines but their location in the pine-scented woods in Roslyn. Inspired by the Roslyn No. 9 mine, the entire building – tasting room, restaurant, and lounge – is a mix of historic touches and modernity. Guests enter through over-sized wooden doors with original pickaxes from the mine, and inside, are high ceilings with mine shaft beams, floor-to-ceiling stone fireplaces, and a patio with views of the golf course and the 120-foot Tipple Hill. Spend some time in the tasting room learning about the wines and the winemakers. Then, head to the restaurant for cedar plank steelhead or pan-roasted Alaskan halibut. If you’re like me and enjoy sipping wine and stargazing, wrap up your evening next to the cozy outdoor fire pit and count the stars.
To return to your room car-free, hop aboard the intra-resort shuttle to neighboring Suncadia Resort. The full-service luxury resort’s 6,400-acres surround the winery and feature an inn and lodge rooms as well as vacation rentals for large groups. Being so close to the great outdoors, you’ll have panoramic vistas, access to hiking and biking trails, including 21 flights of stairs down to the Cle Elum River, fishing and horseback riding. Wine lovers will want to check out their “Wine and Dine Package” that comes with a bottle of wine and dining credit at the resort’s restaurant Portals.
trivago Tip: In the winter, sleigh rides, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, skating and snow tubing are favorite resort activities.
Grandview on the Lake — Chelan, Washington
Lake Chelan has a unique setting compared with the rest of the Columbia Valley AVA. The elevation is higher, and the lake helps regulate the air temperature making the climate more temperate. Because of this, its vineyards nestled along the golden hills surrounding the 12-mile lake experience a unique “lake effect” which allow the grapes to stay on the vines a little longer.
What does that mean to the wine drinker? Naturally balanced and complex wines. With over 30 wineries, there are plenty of tasting rooms with fantastic views, and many have restaurants or light fair to accompany their wines.
For 100 percent estate-produced wines, head to Tsillan Cellars. Their vineyard estate with Italian architecture, inlaid mosaics, Travertine pillars, and gardens with views of the countryside make you feel like you’re at an Italian country estate. At Siren Song Wines, each bottle encourages tasters to share their passion with the ones they love, and if that happens to be food and wine, join one of their wine tasting dinners or cooking classes for wine pairings. Another remarkable winery is Benson Vineyards whose property overlooks the lake and vineyards with a bistro and a summer concert series.
Where to stay? The Grandview on the Lake in downtown Chelan. This unique lakefront property has individually owned condominium units that come in an array of sizes for two guests up to ten. Most of the rooms have lake views, private patios or balconies, and many come with fully-equipped kitchens. For a romantic stay, choose the king parlor Jacuzzi room with king bed, kitchenette, and a private balcony with a lake view (Be sure to be back by sunset!). Another highlight is the outdoor lake-facing pool. In the summer, a pool bar serves cold beer and wine to enjoy along with those delightful rays of sunshine. The hotel is within walking to coffeehouses, eateries, jet boat rides, the Chelan Riverwalk Park, and a short drive to the area’s wineries.
trivago Tip: With Skydive Chelan, get an adrenaline rush by skydiving over Lake Chelan and landing at a winery for a wine tasting.
Best Western Plus The Inn at Horse Heaven — Prosser, Washington
Tasting rooms are often spread out and that means having a designated driver or opting for a guided wine tour. In Prosser, 12 wineries have made it easy for wine lovers to taste their way through Washington wine country at Vintner’s Village. One of my favorites is Airfield Estates. They produce New Zealand style wines, and their seasonal rose is 50 percent foot-stomped. Nearby, Thurston Wolfe has a serious passion for Zinfandels, and it’s the largest single volume they crush. During your tasting tour, be sure to stop at Milbrandt Vineyards. They’re a pioneer in the region and helped establish two of the top wine growing regions in Washington State.
On the appropriately named Merlot Drive, the Best Western Plus The Inn at Horse Heaven is a short walk from Vintner’s Village. Besides being stumbling distance from the tasting rooms, additional perks include spacious guest rooms and suites, a complimentary full hot breakfast, a pool and hot tub. If you’re craving more of the area’s wine country, there are more tasting rooms a short drive away, like 14 Hands Winery, Desert Wind Winery, and Columbia Crest. A must-visit is the Walter Clore Wine & Culinary Center. Dedicated to Walter Clore, the father of Washington wine country, you can sample wines and learn how to pick out different tasting notes by using their jars filled with different items, such as nutmeg, tobacco, and green pepper, to compare the scent with the taste.View Hotel
The Marcus Whitman Hotel — Walla Walla, Washington
Sometimes I want to start my wine adventure the moment I check into the hotel. At The Marcus Whitman Hotel in Walla Walla, I can do just that with their onsite tasting rooms Mansion Creek Cellars, Locati Cellars, Lodmell Cellars, and TERO Estates, which also has wine tasting for Waters Winery and Flying Trout. To receive complimentary tastings, make prior arrangements with hotel staff. After you’ve checked in, all you need to do is present your room key card. If that perk doesn’t impress you, the hotel’s grand lobby with its opulent décor and a wide range of rooms for luxury and budget travelers surely will.
No matter which you choose, all guests start their day with a complimentary hot and healthy breakfast and can dine at The Marc Restaurant or The Vineyard Lounge. To enhance your wine experience, reserve a spot for one of the Sunset Terrace Summer Dining Series dinners or the multi-course wine tasting dinner at the Chef’s Table.
Within walking distance of the hotel are 20 tasting rooms, and you’ll be tempted to try them all. Tasting rooms you’ll want to check out are Truth Teller, Armstrong Family Winery, and Gard Vintners. For outdoor patios, head to Bontzu Cellars and DAMA Wines. If you’re craving more wine, within 15 miles are 100 more wineries. Explore them safely with hired designated drivers and wine tours like Main Street Drivers.
trivago Tip: On the hotel’s second floor in the tower is a series of oil paintings that depict the life of missionaries Marcus and Narcissa Whitman who helped put Walla Walla on the map.
Quality Inn & Suites Conference Center — Clarkston, Washington and Lewiston, Idaho
In 2016, the Lewis-Clark Valley became Washington and Idaho’s newest AVA. This wine region straddles the border between Clarkston, Washington, and Lewiston, Idaho, which are connected by a bridge near the confluence of the Snake and Clearwater Rivers. This growing wine region has 16 vineyards, almost 100 acres of grapes, and a handful of award-winning wineries with tasting rooms.
An ideal place to stay is at the Quality Inn & Suites Conference Center. Set along the banks of the Snake River, hotel amenities include rooms with balconies or patios, a seasonal pool, hot tub (all three have river views) and made-to-order breakfasts.
A short walk away from the hotel is Basalt Cellars. This tasting room is intimate, and Rick Wasem, one of the winemakers, his roots go back to the time when the area had so many grapevines, it was known as Vineland.
From there, drive to Clearwater Canyon Cellars wine tasting room at their 100-year-old-farm in Lewiston. They try to go as local as possible, from the grapes grown within 20 miles of their property to local glass for wine bottles. When the day starts to move toward evening, head to Lindsay Creek Vineyards for more tastings, light fare, some of which is made from their own farmlands, and watch the colors of the sky shift as the sun sets. If you’re craving more, Colter’s Creek Tasting Room and Restaurant is just 30 minutes away.
trivago tip: Want to get outdoors? Hike, bike, fish, or speed through Hells Canyon on a jet boat tour.
Century Hotel — Tualatin, Oregon
Photos courtesy of Rick Schafer Photography
Sometimes road tripping to wine country can take a while, but that’s not the case when visiting Oregon’s wine country. Tualatin, the gateway to the Willamette Valley is a mere 30 minutes from Portland International Airport and has over two dozen wineries. Many serve food pairings, have vineyard and mountain views, and demand at least a full day on your itinerary.
One of these is Ponzi Vineyards, which was the first to bring Pinot Noir to the region. Perched on a hillside with a covered terrace and views of their 130-acre vineyard, you can sip and nibble and play a round of bocce ball. At Alloro Vineyard, the terracotta patio with vineyard views and wood-burning fireplace will lull you into a Mediterranean-inspired escape. Time your visit with their popular farmhouse dinners and dine on dishes with 90 percent estate-grown ingredients. For views of vineyards and the pointed snow-capped peak of Mt. Hood, head to Hawks View Winery. The tasting room has plenty of windows with seating both inside and out to soak up the scenery.
A short drive from the wineries is the Century Hotel. Tucked along Tualatin Lake, their classic guest rooms have private patios or balconies that take advantage of its picturesque setting. Other amenities include an on-site restaurant, heated swimming pool, complimentary breakfast, and if you have dinner at the restaurant, you’ll also receive a complimentary glass of wine or dessert. Guests can also pamper themselves with their Wine Country package that includes a bottle of Pinot Noir, cheese plate, wine tasting certificates, and a three-course dinner at Hayden’s Grill.
trivago Tip: For some downtime rent a kayak or canoe and paddle the Tualatin River.
McMenamins Grand Lodge — Forest Grove, Oregon
The McMenamins Grand Lodge is well-known for their restored accommodations, restaurants, pubs with reused antiques and substantial artistic flare, and their own brand of liquor, beer, and wine. In Forest Grove, The Grand Lodge is a former Masonic and Eastern Star Lodge turned boutique hotel. Guest rooms honor an author, historical figure, or musician and feature a mix of retro décor and artistic flare.
This property is the first place to showcase the latest release of their flagship wine Black Rabbit Red. With on-site restaurants, bars, spa, movie theater, soaking pool, and an outdoor picnic area where vinyl records rule, you’ll be tempted not to wander too far. (If you’re up for a whimsical excursion, head to the hotel’s second and third floors to search for a Lord of the Rings-inspired secret passageway, and see if you can solve Gollum’s riddles.)
When wine country calls, there are dozens of wineries along the Sip 47 Wine Route. The closest to Forest Grove is David Hill Vineyards & Winery, a third generation farm. The tasting room is inside a historic 1883 farmhouse, and guests have the option for an old vine tasting—wines produced from vines over 50 years old.
To explore the property by foot, download the free vineyard touring app. If you love Italian wines as well as estate Pinot Noir, sample both at Apolloni Vineyards. To learn about a Biodynamic® winery, head to Montinore Estate. They have certain standards and regulations they must meet to create a self-sustaining ecosystem at their 200-acre vineyard, such as aerating the soils to bring more oxygen to the roots, making their own sprays and composts, and using indigenous yeast fermentation for their wines. What is the end result of all their hard work? Being the largest certified organic winery in the country to make estate wines from Biodynamic® grapes.
trivago tip: Mix up a day of wine tasting with award-winning sake at SakéOne. For some elevated thrills, head to Tree to Tree Aerial Adventure Park 20 minutes away.
Inn at the 5th — Eugene, Oregon
Eugene is a place of caffeinated college students and bearded hipsters. Along with its brewery and distillery scene, there are seven urban wineries. Start at the Oregon Wine LAB. Their William Rose wines are produced on-site and they pour a couple of wines from local wineries.
The trendy Whiteaker neighborhood is a must. Everything is within walking distance, and you’ll find eateries like Tacovore and tasting rooms like Territorial Vineyards & Wine Company and Eugene Wine Cellars. Downtown, Fifth Street Public Market is a social hub, and one could easily spend the day tasting wines at Sweet Cheeks Tasting Room, shopping, and dining. Of special note is the French-inspired Marche Restaurant, which features wine tasting dinners throughout the year.
Next to the market is the charming Inn at the 5th. Staying here means you’re close to the market and all that Eugene has to offer. That begins right at check-in when guests of age receive a glass of wine. Afterward, head to the market or jump on a complimentary cruiser and pedal your way to the next tasting room.
For a more in-depth wine experience, reserve a seat on their four-hour guided wine tour. The tour includes a bottle of wine, some goodies, and stops at four wineries including Sweet Cheeks, and King Estate Winery, Silvan Ridge Winery, and Iris Vineyards. Wrap up your evening with dinner at Marche Restaurant, or if you’d rather have a night in, they also provide in-room service.View Hotel
Sandman Signature Langley Hotel — Langley, British Columbia
I was a late bloomer to the British Columbia wine scene, and the more Canadian wines I taste, the more I’m impressed. In Langley, there are over 20 wineries, and since you’ll need to drive, my suggestion is to pick a couple near each other and make a day of it.
A winery you’ll want to put on your itinerary is Backyard Vineyards. Their tasting room is cozy in the winter, and in the summer, the covered patio beckons with savory bites and vineyard views. Vista D’oro Farms & Winery is an unusual stop. Be sure to sample their flagship fortified walnut wine with a blend of Marechal Foch, Merlot, Fraser Valley walnuts and Okanagan brandy. They also have a line of small-batch seasonal, artisanal preserves. For a tasting, wine tour, lunch, and dinner, visit Chaberton Estate Winery, the largest and oldest winery in the Fraser Valley.
Set in the center of Vancouver’s Wine Country, the Sandman Signature & Suites Langley is the perfect home base. The contemporary hotel features stylish rooms with travel-friendly amenities, including an on-site restaurant, bar, and pool. For couples on a romantic wine getaway, go for the Jacuzzi suites. Their spacious loft suites come with a sitting room and kitchenette with a cooktop. After your day of wine-venturing, return to the hotel for a nightcap on the rooftop patio at Moxie’s Grill & Bar.View Hotel
Best Western Plus Wine Country Hotel & Suites — Kelowna, British Columbia
With over 200 wineries in the Okanagan Valley, there are plenty of wineries to satiate your thirst in British Columbia’s premier winemaking region. Narrow down your travels to the city of Kelowna and the wineries on the Westside Wine Trail. Known for being the home of some of the most well-established vineyards, many offer winery tours and have restaurants. Another distinctive feature is that the wineries are along the slopes of Mount Boucherie, an extinct volcano with stunning views of the valley and Okanagan Lake.
Must-visit wineries are Mission Hill Family Estate Winery and Quails’ Gate Winery; both of which helped develop the region’s wine country. And, Indigenous World Winery, a First Nations owned and operated winery with a restaurant that focuses on modern indigenous cuisine. Another way to explore the trail is during the open house style ‘Sip Series’ that happens three times a year.
Six minutes away from Mission Hill Family Estate Winery is the Best Western Plus Wine Country Hotel & Suites. They have over a dozen types of rooms and suites for guests to choose from, a complimentary hot breakfast, and an indoor heated swimming pool with a waterslide. To dig deeper into this wine region, book one of the hotel’s wine-themed packages with a guided wine tour, or a package that also includes facility tours and dinner under the vines.View Hotel