Explore Washington’s Wine Country in the heart of spring, when wineries debut new releases and celebrate the journey from grape-vine to barrel and bottle. This wine and outdoor recreation guide features two major AVA (American Viticultural Area) wine grape-growing regions in Eastern Washington, plus a section for Spokane County.
Recreation destinations and outdoor highlights are paired with select wineries and estate vineyards, notable for their scenic locations and on-site amenities. Look for future guides covering other wine grape growing regions throughout the Northwest in future issues of “Out There.” Load up your bikes and boots or pack your paddling gear for a vine-to-wine road-trip adventure with wine-tasting rest stops.
Arbor Crest Wine Cellars
The Cliff House and tasting room at Arbor Crest’s winery in Spokane Valley not only boasts scenic views of the Spokane River below, it’s also a great cycling destination close to the Centennial Trail. You can depart the trail at the East Moringo Drive Trailhead, to the west of the winery, or Islands trailhead to the east—which is closest to Upriver Road’s intersection with Fruit Hill Road and the one-mile climb to the winery.
Winemaker Jim van Loben Sels says, “We own the land all the way to the trailhead, so someday I want to connect to the Centennial Trail so people can ride or hike right up to our winery.” The winery hosts outdoor summer concerts from May through the end of September, starting with TulipFest to showcase the more than 7,000 tulips on its spacious grounds. Arbor Crest’s tasting room in downtown Spokane’s Cork District is now located inside the Davenport Hotel.
Latah Creek Wine Cellars
Located less than a mile from the Centennial Trail in Spokane Valley, instead of driving to the tasting room, pedal or power-walk your way there. Leave the trail near Mirabeau Point Park—consult a trail map to choose your trailhead exit and proceed south on city streets to the winery.
Located in Green Bluff, enjoy a view of Mt. Spokane at the tasting room after cycling along the country roads of this farming community. Or stop here after hiking or mountain biking at Mt. Spokane State Park.
Downtown Cork District
With 14 tasting rooms, it’s easy to pair wine tasting with urban recreation, whether it’s cycling on the Centennial Trail or paddling the Spokane River. (See article about biking the Cork District)
This “macro” AVA region is the largest one in Washington and encompasses all the other smaller, regional AVAs, including the Ancient Lakes AVA—a newer wine-growing region that includes Quincy, Moses Lake, and Lake Roosevelt.
QUINCY & GRAND COULEE—Outdoor Recreation Highlights
This channeled scabland area, with fascinating geographical and historical sites, is ideal for rock climbing, hiking, paddling, and mountain biking. Popular destinations are Frenchman Coulee near Vantage; Lake Lenore Caves; Beezley Hills Preserve and Monument Hill, near Ephrata; and Drumheller Channels National Natural Landmark, near Othello (IAFI.org). The Washington Trails Association’s website, WTA.org, is the best resource for trailhead driving directions and hike descriptions. For local paddling, boating, and fishing, visit Crescent Bar Recreation Area or Wanapum Recreational Area along the Columbia River.
Cave B Estate Winery
Neighboring the Gorge Amphitheater, this winery and vineyard boasts panoramic views of the Columbia River. In fact, the Bryan family originally conceived of music concerts in the “little gorge” bowl—what was once called the Champs de Brionne Summer Music Theater. Today, Cave B’s tasting room hosts “Music & Wine in the Vines” during the summer. Cave B Inn & Spa Resort (no longer owned by the winery) has rooms, “glamping” yurts, hiking and mountain biking trails down to the riverbank, and an outdoor pool.
White Heron Cellars & Mariposa Vineyards
Overlooking the Columbia River and Crescent Bar Resort, visitors are welcome to picnic on the grounds and play outdoor chess and petanque (a French game similar to Italian bocce) after their tasting room visit.
Chris Daniel Winery
Namesake winemaker for the Stewart family business is son (and WSU alumni) Chris Daniel Stewart, whose winemaking sensibilities were influenced by time spent with grape growers and winemakers in Chile and France. The winery and tasting room is located close to I-90, east of George.
Camas Cove Cellars
Located on the west shore of Moses Lake, south of I-90, you can kayak, powerboat, or even jet-ski to this boutique winery’s dock, when the tasting room is open. Add this stop to the Moses Lake Water Trail, which includes eight shoreline parks and points of interest (information and maps at cityofml.com). There are six public boat launches around the lake, including at Blue Heron Park. At the lake’s south end, there is an outlet to Potholes Reservoir and Potholes State Park.
Whitestone Vineyard & Winery
At Whitestone Ranch, this red-only estate winery and its Lake Roosevelt Shores Vineyard is located along the lower part of the lake, less than 30 miles behind Grand Coulee Dam. Visitors are welcome to arrive by kayak or boat. Anchor on the beach near Whitestone Rock and hike ¾-mile on the road to the winery facilities. For boat launch locations, visit the Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area website, nps.gov/laro.
TRI-CITIES & YAKIMA VALLEY—Outdoor Highlights
Hikers, trail runners, and mountain bikers can explore Chamna Natural Preserve in Richland, along the Yakima River; Badger Mountain and Candy Mountain (friendsofbadger.org); Rattlesnake Mountain; and Hanford Reach National Monument.
For boating, fishing, and watersports, visit Sacajawea Historical State Park, a day-use park at the confluence of the Snake and Columbia, where there is also a trailhead for Sacagawea Heritage Trail—a 23-mile paved walking and cycling path along the Columbia River.
Columbia Park in Kennewick has a disc golf course, Audubon Nature Trail, and trailheads for both the Sacajawea Heritage Trail and Tri-Cities Riverfront Trail (20 miles, round-trip). Hiketricities.com has a comprehensive list of 40+ hikes and trails around the Columbia Basin.
Powers Winery & Badger Mountain Vineyard
Located on the southern slope of Badger Mountain, near Kennewick, this winery and certified-organic estate vineyard welcomes visitors to stay and enjoy the gazebo, picnic area, and rose garden. The winery hosts special events throughout the summer, including evenings with live music and food trucks.
Enjoy a tasting and tour of the winery and certified salmon-safe estate vineyard at Red Mountain. Afterwards, hang out at the dog-friendly courtyard or picnic area, or dine on brick-oven pizzas and salads at the Vineyard Grill, with a panoramic view of the vineyards and lower Yakima Valley. Spokane’s Cork District also has a Terra Blanca tasting room.
Goose Ridge Estate Vineyard & Winery
This 2,500-vineyard in Richland has a tasting room that also offers a small food menu and outdoor seating (no picnicking allowed).
This AVA region boasts more than 50 wineries and tasting rooms, mostly near Lake Chelan but also in Leavenworth, Wenatchee, and at Lake Roosevelt.
LAKE CHELAN—Outdoor Highlights
This wine region has more than 25 wineries, estate vineyards, and tasting rooms, located at either the lake’s south side, near downtown Chelan, or in the small town of Manson, near Wapato Point. There are six public boat launches at Lake Chelan, the third-deepest lake in North America. Anglers can fish on the lake or head to the Stehekin River for fly-fishing. Stehekin Fishing Adventures fly shop provides guide services.
Both Lake Chelan State Park and 25-Mile Creek State Park can be base camps for hiking and boating. Head to the Upper Lake Chelan to visit Stehekin Village—the east side gateway to North Cascades National Park—which is only accessible by boat or paddle-craft or the Lady of the Lake ferry. You can also stay and play at Lake Chelan National Recreation Area or Holden Village. Washington Trails Association describes the Chelan Lakeshore Trail as good for an early-season backpacking trip—a 17-mile one-way thru-hike from Prince Creek, via ferry ride, to Stehekin.
Vin Du Lac Winery
In addition to a tasting room and farm-to-table bistro that hosts live music, this winery sponsors local biking and running events, including the Echo Valley 14/30/60 mile Mountain Bike Race on June 8; Echo Valley 10k, Half Marathon, 50k, and 100k on June 15; and Cycle de Vine and Century Challenge on June 22. (More information at vindulac.com and its “Outdoor Sports Series” webpage.)
Benson Vineyards Estate Winery
Tasting room and on-site Bistro with al fresco patio seating provides Lake Chelan and vineyard views. Summer concert series begins May 18.
Four Lakes Winery
From the town of Manson, drive the backroads to the winery’s tasting room and vineyard property to enjoy your wine from the spacious deck, with panoramic views of the surrounding lakes.
WENATCHEE & LEAVENWORTH—Outdoor Highlights: One of the best ways to enjoy central Washington’s hot sunny weather is on the water. Launch your kayak or power boat on the Columbia River at Rock Island State Park or Rock Island Hydro Park. Camping is available at Wenatchee Confluence State Park and Lincoln Rock State Park at Lake Entiat. For rock climbing, visit Peshastin Pinnacles State Park. (Learn more at visitchelancounty.com.)
Leavenworth tasting rooms are clustered in the downtown Bavarian Village, at the foot of the Cascade Mountains. Outside of town, the Icicle Creek area has rustic campgrounds and hiking trails. Venture into the Alpine Lakes Wilderness and the Enchantments in the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest. West of town off Highway 2 is Lake Wenatchee State Park.
Martin Scott Winery
Located close to the Columbia River in East Wenatchee, the winery and vineyard offers tours, tastings, and hand-tossed, wood-fired pizza on Saturdays. In the summer, they host a patio dinner series.
Chateau Faire le Pont
Enjoy a tour and farm-to-table Northwest cuisine at this Wenatchee winery and its Chateau Grill Restaurant. Visitors are also welcome to picnic in the vineyard.
Icicle Ridge Winery
Known for its unique ice wines, this destination winery in Peshastin has a log-home tasting room and hosts outdoor concerts and Wine Hikes.
Editor’s Note: For current tasting room hours, be sure to contact each winery, or visit its website before you go (hours of operation change seasonally). Please drink responsibly and designate a driver for your wine tasting tour. //