Rumor has it that there has been some hustle and bustle that’s shaking up Woodinville. The once sleepy suburb is now a thriving community with more amenities than anyone could have imagined ten years ago. Fortunately, Charles and Lore Lill had the foresight to purchase a hillside estate in 1980 just as the Washington wine industry was establishing its roots. In honor of the family’s French heritage they have renamed the winery and event space Chateau Lill.
Greg Lill, co founder of DeLille Cellars, purchased the property with the idea of starting a winery. For over 25 years the Lill Family has produced and pioneered top echelon wines of Washington through their DeLille Cellars brand, established in 1992. Chateau Lill, the original home of DeLille Cellars, is now home to their latest project: The Lill Family Wines collection. Based on years of friendship and industry connections, they have partnered with top vintners and good friends to produce this growing collection.
Last year was especially tough on the event industry which led Chateau Lill to open up their property as a tasting room for their Lill Family Wines.
Going into 2021 they are gearing up for a full summer of events. Their goal is to manage both the tasting room and events at the same time. A majority of last year’s weddings and corporate events have rebooked and they are looking forward to a busy summer on the property.
Chateau Lill is the preeminent event venue in Woodinville. With 10 acres of pristine grounds that include lush rolling lawns, ponds, and a small farm surrounded by tall firs. The Chateau itself boasts a Barrel Room, and Grand Room, with an open air tented terrace during the summer high season. Other hidden enclaves can be found in the upper lawn, vineyard lawn, high up in the Chateau tower, or at the popular gazebo nestled next to their scenic pond.
Chateau Lill is just 30 minutes from Downtown Seattle, 15 minutes from Bellevue, and yes, just 10 minutes from Redmond. They recommend a number of hotels in Bellevue and Redmond. Over 130 wineries, breweries and distilleries dot the Woodinville landscape, all within a five mile radius of Chateau Lill. Multiple fine dining as well as casual bistro fare is also nearby.
~ Written by Amber Schmitt, Marketing Director of Woodinville Wine Country
This last Friday I had the opportunity to visit Chateau Lill to try their Lill Family Wines. I have two words for you to describe my visit: “Parisian paradise.”
From the second you drive up to the property you are transported to a Parisian estate. Chateau Lill is steps away from the heart of the Hollywood District, but nestled just far enough away to create its own ambiance and feel outside of the hustle and bustle of this busy district.
Before I dive into my experience at Chateau Lill, let’s cover reservations. Reservations are highly encouraged. You can make a reservation here. Chateau Lill is open for tastings Friday from 2-6pm and Saturday & Sunday from 12-6pm. Each tasting is 90 minutes and includes 5 wines and a shared charcuterie for $30 a person. You can choose an indoor or outdoor tasting experience. It is important to note that Chateau Lill is dog and family friendly. Many locations are great for kids/great for parents with kids so that parents can still enjoy a tasting! Wine by the bottle and by the glass following the tasting is encouraged.
Upon my arrival, I was greeted by their tasting room staff and decided to take a tour of the property before sitting down for my tasting. Eager to wander, they handed me my first tasting to enjoy as I walked the property. I had the opportunity to chat with Event Director, Robbi Hedger, as she showed me around. If you get the chance, I encourage you to chat with their team about the property and the story of Chateau Lill.
I started my tour in The Grand Room where I was handed my first tasting. The Grand Room is a large open concept space with tall beamed ceilings, huge real wood fireplace and several French doors leading to the terrace. From here we walked outside and towards the vineyards on the property. They have planted a few rows of vines which is ironically an uncommon sight in Woodinville Wine Country. The focal point between the vineyard rows is a large pond surrounded by greenery. Located to the right of this pond is a wooded path which takes you over to the vineyard and gathering lawns. There is so much opportunity within this space. I can only imagine the events and weddings taking place here.
From the gathering lawn I ventured to a small bridge over their pond which took me to a patio space with a nearby gazebo. The gazebo is the perfect spot to enjoy a bottle of Lill Family Wines on a hot summer day. If you have made it to the gazebo, you have definitely noticed the alpacas nearby. Chateau Lill is home to a small herd of alpacas and Cashmere goats. They live in the pastures on property and are located near the large white barn. Robbi let me know that their alpacas and goats do all have names. I was not about to test her knowledge even though I am sure she would ace that test. 😉
We admired the alpacas and goats for a bit before we headed back to the terrace to finish my tasting. The terrace houses real wood fires which I was extra excited about. It may be the ‘camping bug’ I carry with me all year round, but it elevated the ambiance created here at Chateau Lill.
LETS TALK WINES
It’s time to break down my Lill Family Wines tasting flight. As mentioned above, each tasting is 90 minutes and includes 5 wines and a shared charcuterie for $30 a person. Currently their charcuterie partner is Heritage Restaurant + Bar, but different local chefs are featured periodically. Along with the charcuterie board, complimentary Talking Rain non-alcoholic beverages are provided.
Interestingly enough, Chateau Lill does not make their own wines. They partner with other top winemakers in the valley to make Lill Family Wines. I will highlight their winemaker partners for each wine below:
2019 Lill Sister Chardonnay (Columbia Valley)
Produced in partnership with Chris Sparkman of Sparkman Cellars
This Chardonnay from Royal Slope vineyard offers a creamy full body with layers of yellow apple, lemon curd, baked pear, and toasted brioche, finishing with vanilla and baking spice.
Lill Bébé Rosé
Produced in partnership with Chris Gorman of Gorman Winery
This Rosé is wonderfully complex and created to be enjoyed year round. The salmon coloration complements the floral bouquet featuring notes of quince, jasmine, strawberry, red currant and mango, intermingled with a hint of “Herbes de Provence.”
2016 Lill Brother Cabernet Sauvignon (Yakima Valley)
Produced in partnership with Matt Loso of Woodinville Custom Crush
This Cabernet overdelivers with notes of mocha, Mediterranean herbs, and dark berry fruits. It finished with a smooth cascade of fine oak tannins and a touch of nutmeg.
The Cashmere Cellars brand, established in 2004, produces top-level premium cult Chardonnay. This wine has over the years been produced in partnership by some of the state’s greatest vintners including Brennan Leighton, Chris Peterson, and Jason Gorski. For the past several vintages they have worked closely with Chris Gorman of Gorman Winery to develop the flavor profile and essence of this wine.
This Chardonnay carries notes of creme brulee, honeysuckle, stone peach, and hazelnuts with a touch of toasty oak barrel aging.
There is something really special about Lill Family Wines’ tasting flight. The Lill Family Wine collection is a collaboration project which adds so much more depth to their tasting menu. It is a remarkable experience to sit down at Chateau Lill, soak in the surroundings, and to enjoy wine from several well respected vintners here in Woodinville.
What came after my tasting flight? So glad you asked! S’mores! Chateau Lill offers fireside s/mores. My inner child was jumping up and down for joy. Their s’mores come in adorable pre-boxed packages for their guests to enjoy for $20. This package is plenty for two people to share. The s’mores add on is similar to what you would put together at home, but a gourmet version in my opinion. The graham crackers were the tastiest thing I have treated myself to in a long while. Buttery and soft with hints of cinnamon and vanilla – delish! The dark chocolate was the perfect balance for this childhood treat. 11/10 I highly recommend.
Before I wrap this up, I want to mention that Chateau Lill hosts Happy Hours every Friday and Sunday for $5 off tasting flights. Weekend happy hours? That is unheard of! I highly recommend you take advantage of this offer.
I thoroughly enjoyed my visit to Chateau Lill. I will be back very soon.
If you want to learn more about Chateau Lill & Lill Family Wines click the links below!