A Whirlwind Tour of Eastern Washington

September 19, 2008

The assistant winemaker at Badger Mountain/Powers Winery uses a glass thief to distribute barrel samples.

Immediately after the Riesling Rendezvous in late July, the Washington Wine Commission set up a one-day trip for visiting journalists to the conference to visit four wineries across the mountains in eastern Washington. At 6 a.m., a busload of us left the warmth and comfort of the Willows Lodge in Woodinville and made the journey to Sea-Tac for our early-morning Horizon flight.

Once there, we stopped at Badger Mountain/Powers Winery to see their gorgeous spread of estate grapes in the midst of a bustling residential neighborhood (!). Next stop was the huge facility of Pacific Rim, which specializes in Riesling of all sorts and price ranges (value-priced, single-vineyard-designate, and a yummy dessert Riesling). 

After a tour of the Col Solare facility, a partnership between Chateau Ste. Michelle and the Antinori family of Italian winemaking fame, and designed by Boxwood, a Seattle architecture firm fast becoming known for its gorgeous winery designs (such as Novelty Hill/Januik in Woodinville), we enjoyed a three-course lunch (paired with various vintages of Col Solare, of course!) prepared by Picazzo 7Seventeen chef/owner Frank Magaña. 

We ended the day at Goose Ridge Vineyards, which boasts the largest spread of contiguous vineyards in Washington state and is making two tiers of wines–Goose Ridge and Stone Cap–which we tasted through with winemaker Charlie Hoppes.

Then it was back on the bus for the short ride back to the Pasco Airport and the 45-minute flight home, exhausted but all the wiser about our state’s formidable eastern Washington grape resources.

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