This last Friday we joined Rocky Pond Estate Winery for another ‘At The Tasting Room’ experience. We expected to enjoy great wine, but were also pleasantly surprised by their culinary program. Keep reading to learn more about our experience.


Rocky Pond Estate Winery is owned by Michelle and David Dufenhorst. They knew they enjoyed cycling, they knew they loved to travel as a family, they knew they loved spending time with their friends, and they knew they loved wine. Little did they know that they would have the opportunity to combine all these blessings.

During family bicycle trips in France and Italy, they were honored to be invited into the homes of families where wine-making had been handed down for generations. The Dufenhorsts could taste the passion in every glass shared, as the wine-making families shared how they respected the vineyards, and the meticulous care used to produce amazing wines. What a gift that was!

It was during one of those trips that the Dufenhorsts were given wonderful advice: “Don’t save your best wine for formal occasions; celebrate your best wine with family and friends”.

Three years later they bought a one-acre lot on the Columbia River in Eastern Washington, thinking it would be fun to plant a few vines, make a little wine, to remember those trips by. But they soon discovered that, just as vines dig roots deep into the soil, they’d sunk those roots deep into them, too.

One month later they were digging test pits for soil content, had a vineyard consultant determining where each varietal would grow the best, and consulting with a winemaker who told them that their instincts had been right, that the soil around them was both unique and amazing, and they should buy more.

And so, with the acquisition of the amazing Clos CheValle as well as their Double D vineyard, Rocky Pond Winery came to life, born of love, dedication, and maybe a little-inspired madness.

They believe all the talented professionals who came into their lives to help develop their vineyards and to make truly great wines for them, were miracles sent their way that they need to celebrate. It was an experience they didn’t know to ask for, and yet a gift they were given.


Rocky Pond Estate Winery is located in the Downtown District of Woodinville Wine Country, specifically in a development called Woodin Creek Village. If you have not visited this downtown hub yet, you are truly missing out. Currently it is home to Zeek’s Pizza, Rocky Pond Estate Winery, TruthTeller Winery, Lifted Taco, and Woodin Creek Bar & Grill. However, a handful of new tasting rooms, restaurants, and other local businesses are opening here soon. You can see construction taking place for the following establishments which will be opening soon: Brian Carter Cellars, Alexandria Nicole Cellars, BRIX Wine Cafe, Rusty Pelican Cafe, Ambassador Wines of Washington, Ancestry Cellars and more.

We are excited to see Woodin Creek Village continue to grow over the next few weeks and months. It is already very lively and we recommend you add this location to your list of places to visit soon.

Now that you have an idea of where Rocky Pond is located, let’s dive into their tasting room space. If you have visited Rocky Pond Estate Winery’s Chelan tasting room the vibe of their Woodinville location is very similar minus the vineyards of course. 😉 However, their Woodinville location does have a few transplanted vines on display.

Their tasting room team pointed out a rather interesting story regarding these transplanted vines. During October last year, their team was pruning the vines as they normally do and noticed a few branches that were not bearing fruit. They thought these vines would be perfect to showcase in Woodinville as a unique tasting room display. These vines were cut and prepped to be taken to Woodinville which meant they spent a day or so in a truck for transit. Randomly in December of this last year, their tasting room staff started to notice green sprigs on the Clos CheValle transplanted vine. Curious to see what would happen, their team started watering the soil this vine was planted in. The berries started veraison in early April. If you visit their tasting room now, you can see this vine full of life and sprouting green and red grapes. How cool is that!? Don’t worry we took a picture for your viewing pleasure, but I encourage you to check it out for yourself.

Rocky Pond Estate Winery in Woodinville has several seating options for their guests. Their patio wraps around their tasting room and provides plenty of spacious seating for those warm weather days. If you prefer to sit outside and the weather is not ideal, they do have outdoor heaters to keep you cozy while you enjoy a glass or bottle of wine. They also have various seating options inside their tasting room ranging from cocktail style tables, larger group accommodations (within current WA state guidelines), or even lounge style seating. Of course, wine club members have their own private tasting area as well.


~ Written by Amber Schmitt, Marketing Director of Woodinville Wine Country

As mentioned above, I had the opportunity to visit Rocky Pond Estate Winery for a tasting…which turned into a few different flights and food.

You can expect great wine from Rocky Pond, but their culinary program will take you by surprise. If you are looking for an elevated wine tasting experience then you have come to the right place. They have an amazing chef on site who creates mouthwatering dishes for their tasting room guests to enjoy. I will dive into some of the wine and food pairings I enjoyed below, but I also want to highlight their chef and his background first.


Doug Setniker is Rocky Pond Estate Winery’s Director of Culinary Experiences and is currently residing in Woodinville for the opening of this location. Please see below for a statement from Chef Doug:

“I am excited to have the opportunity to work with the dynamic team at Rocky Pond Vineyards. My journey to this point has provided me many great culinary and life lessons. From a culinary school in New York to hotel foodservice and corporate dining, from events serving thousands to private dinners for a few, I have put passion and experience into every dish I serve. The most important people I have ever served are. . . you and the next guests whom I have the honor of preparing a memorable experience for. I see this as a culmination of a great collection of experiences in my life that help me to prepare and share exceptional experiences at Rocky Pond Vineyards.”


Rocky Pond Estate Winery has several tasting flight options for their guests to enjoy: “White & Rosé Flight” ($15), “Winemaker’s Selection Flight” ($20), and the “Founder’s Reserve Flight” ($25). Their tasting room manager, Holly, was so gracious to pour all three during my visit. I know what you are thinking… don’t worry I did have a friend join me for this visit and I am so glad I did.

During my visit, I was able to taste through their full line-up which included 11 different wines and a bonus pour of their Domaine CheValle 2017 Sparkling Chardonnay. Talk about an ideal “introduction”. Enjoying all three flights is not always a realistic approach, but I encourage you to visit their Woodinville location and opt for different tasting flights for each guest or you can simply make a few different visits.

For the sake of brevity, I will be highlighting a few different wines from their tasting flights and some of the food pairings I tried below.

Pairing #1: 2019 Chardonnay + Any of the cheese selections from their Charcuterie Board.

Amber’s Notes~

Usually, I would pick a favorite cheese to pair with a wine but this Chardonnay stood up against all of their seasonal cheese selections. If I had to pick a few favorite pairings I would suggest the Drunken Goat Cheese or the Rogue Creamery Blue Cheese. Their tasting room manager, Holly, recommended I try the Chardonnay with the Blue Cheese. This would not be my initial pairing idea, but my goodness this was good.

This Chardonnay is extremely versatile.

Fresh and lively on the nose, with notes of cantaloupe and lemon curd. On the palate, creamy notes of bruised apple, vanilla bean and green melon showcase through a round and long finish.

Nestled into the Cascade Mountains, Clos CheValle was planted in 2004 and 2005 on the sunny slopes of Lake Chelan. This Washington white highlights the true nature of our alpine site.

Pairing #2: 2019 Gewurtztraminer + Calabrese Salami

Amber’s Notes~

This grape benefits from pairings that have a bit of heat which is why I chose the Calabrese Salami to pair with their Gewurtztraminer. In my opinion, this is a delicate wine as it leads with floral aromas and lychee on your palate. I found I also enjoyed pairing this wine with the Sleeping Beauty Cheese as this cheese has a bold flavor and a distinctively sharp taste that is balanced by the sweetness of this wine.

Bright green straw in color with aromas of dried apricot, ginger, peach and rose water. On the palate the wine is dry with flavors of lychee, grapefruit, and tropical fruit flavors as the wine lingers. Easily enjoyed on its own but pairs well with Asian dishes, fruit platters, and holiday dinners.

Nestled into the Cascade Mountains, Clos CheValle was planted in 2004 and 2005 on the sunny slopes of Lake Chelan. This Washington white highlights the true nature of our alpine site.

Pairing #4: 2017 Mourvèdre + Lamb Sliders

Amber’s Notes~

Initial reaction to the 2017 Mourvèdre… “Can I revisit this?” I am daydreaming of this wine. Huge fan. This wine has a floral aroma and flavors of dark plum on the palate. Chef Doug prepared us some Lamb Sliders which were a match made in heaven for this wine. The Lamb Sliders consist of harissa sauce, mint-citrus vinaigrette, maltby greens, and feta cheese sandwiched together by a garlic knot. Is your mouth watering yet or is that just me?

Medium ruby in color with pronounced aromas of cocoa, blackberry, and chocolate-covered acai berries. The palate has flavors of black raspberry, dried herbs, and baking spices. The wine finishes with a dust storm like sense on the back of the palate that lingers into sweet tobacco and dates.

Double D is situated 15 miles Southwest of Lake Chelan, along the Columbia River. From near the river’s edge at an elevation of 700 feet, 55 acres are planted up to 940 feet on a north-facing slope of fine silt loam and tumbled granite.

Pairing #4: 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve + their whole Charcuterie Board..

Amber’s Notes~

If you are looking for that “go-to” Cabernet, this is it. The body of this wine is on the bolder side which makes this wine a friendly choice for heartier meals. Given that their charcuterie board is meat focused this wine was perfect to pair with just about anything. I have not mentioned my favorite part of their charcuterie board yet, but this is the perfect time: Chef Doug’s Shallot Jam. Absolutely to die for!

*Insider tip: you can contact their team to arrange for a take-home container Chef Doug’s Shallot Jam. It is THAT good.

One of our most popular and highly acclaimed wines, this bottling is produced using only the finest blocks of Cabernet Sauvignon from our sustainably farmed Double D Estate Vineyard.

Our flagship offering from Double D Vineyard, this wine is medium to deep ruby in color, with aromas of red currant, cedar, and sweet tobacco. On the palate, warm notes of cherry cola, almond and graham cracker. Pair with grilled meat or portabella mushrooms with caramelized onions.

Double D is situated 15 miles Southwest of Lake Chelan, along the Columbia River. From near the river’s edge at an elevation of 700 feet, 55 acres are planted up to 940 feet on a north-facing slope of fine silt loam and tumbled granite.

Before I wrap this up, I want to mention that Rocky Pond Estate Winery in Woodinville has live music every Thursday from 6-8pm. If I have not given you enough reasons to visit their tasting room already, here is one more. You can view more events and live music details by clicking here.


Rocky Pond Estate Winery’s Wine Club Membership is called “Rocks Society”. They have a handful of member benefits including wine + dine opportunities and invitations to exclusive concerts and special events. You can learn more about their wine club here.

I want to make a special mention of their Industry Wine Club as this type of club membership is not very common to see. To all my industry friends and colleagues, definitely check this out as this wine club membership is highly flexible with exclusive benefits. Stop by the tasting room to learn more.

Thank you again to the team at Rocky Pond Estate Winery here in Woodinville. I will be back very soon!

If you want to learn more about Rocky Pond Estate Winery click the links below!

Rocky Pond Estate Winery Facebook Page | Rocky Pond Estate Winery Website | Rocky Pond Estate Winery Instagram Page