A recent Wall Street Journal article put the spotlight on Woodinville Wine Country’s Warehouse District noting that “some of the best wines are created in warehouses by some of the most talented winemakers in Washington state.”
Not only are the wines worth seeking, the proximity of the tasting rooms to one another makes it easy for visitors to park their car and spend the day tasting wines at any one of 50 tasting rooms, all within walking distance. For many Washington wine aficionados, the draw of the Warehouse District is the opportunity to meet the winemaker who is just as likely to be pouring at the bar as racking barrels. It also offers inquiring wine lovers the opportunity to uncover a hidden gem. Here’s a short list of five new kids on the block worth knowing.
Sol Stone and Welcome Road are the newest wineries to open in the Junction, the unofficial gateway to the Warehouse District at the corner of 144th Ave NE and NE N Woodinville Way. Located adjacent to Gard, Beaumont, Five Star Cellars and Armstrong, Sol Stone and Welcome Road share a tasting room fronted by a roll-up door that invites the outside in on breezy summer days. A convivial sign posted by the bar reminds guests, “Friends Don’t Let Friends Wine Alone.” Sample a selection of wines from either producer or linger over a glass. Sol Stone makes premium wines working with grapes from such iconic Washington vineyards as Seven Hills, Sagemoor and Conner Lee. Welcome Road focuses on Rhone blends with an emphasis on Viognier and Syrah.
Just after leaving the Junction, don’t miss Refuge & Prospect on the east side of 144th. Open since May 2014, the tasting room uses reclaimed barn siding and other salvaged materials to create a rustic, relaxed setting for tasting wine. Current releases are from the impeccable 2012 vintage, the first year co-owners and winemakers Jason Baldwin and Josh Klakring sourced their own grapes.
Across the street from Refuge & Prospect, enter the heart of the Warehouse District. Savage Grace and W.T. Vintners are two of the newest wineries to open here. They are located adjacent to each other at the far west end of the main driveway in the last of six warehouse buildings that occupy the area.
Ambassador Wines of Washington produces 100% estate grown Washington State wines from Red Mountain. Winemaker Sarah Goedhart, daughter of Hedges Cellars who began on Red Mountain in 1990, has won Double Gold’s for her bold reds in the Seattle Wine Awards.
At Savage Grace, owner/winemaker Michael Savage strives to make lower-alcohol, balanced and expressive wines in an Old World style with minimal intervention. Don’t miss the Cabernet Franc or Syrah, both from the Rattlesnake Hills.
Next door to Savage Grace, Jeff Lindsay-Thorsen of W.T. Vintners strives to craft terroir-driven with goal of allowing the vineyard to express itself. When not at the winery, he serves as wine director for Michael Mina’s RN74 in Seattle. His 2013 Gruner Veltliner is a quaffable summer sipper; his “deliciously savory” Syrah, as described by Lettie Teague of the Wall Street Journal is another wine not-to-be-missed.