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Cheers to Women Winemakers

Raise a glass to wine country weekends

Goose Ridge Estate Winery is a fantastic spot for tastings, right at the center of their sprawling 2,500-acre vineyard.

This article originally appeared in the July/August 2024 issue of Seattle magazine.

With Women Making History Month well underway, let’s toast three perfect wine country getaways with a focus on women winemakers.

 

 

Walla Walla

Walla Walla is the ideal of a small college town, with enough eating and drinking options to encourage multiple visits. With more than two dozen tasting rooms located downtown, it is the perfect location for a car-free weekend of swirling and sipping.

 

Women in Wine

Step into the Marcus Whitman Hotel for a slice of history and a glass of wine. Julia Russell founded Mansion Creek Cellars in 2007 to showcase varietals such as Tempranillo, from her native Spain. Scan the glamor photos of Julia amongst the vines, her style and grace clearly inform the winery’s design. Her son and daughter-in-law have taken over operations, but she remains a true maverick.

Mansion Creek Cellars was founded by Julia Russell in 2007.

A modern tasting room and a contemporary art gallery at Foundry Vineyards

A modern tasting room and a contemporary art gallery at Foundry Vineyards.

While her brother oversees winemaking, Lisa Anderson puts her stamp on Foundry Vineyards as events director, art curator, and general manager. The facility continues its founding 1980 principle as an industrial space for sculpture production, but now with contemporary art openings that pair perfectly with their lovely malbec.

Not far from downtown, be sure to visit Valdemar Estates with wines from a family-run operation that has made wine for generations. Head Winemaker Devyani Gupta arrived in 2019, and has been called a prodigy for her youth, skill, and passion. Growing up in Portland, Gupta’s father allowed her to sip his wine only if she could describe its characteristics. In school in Walla Walla she found her true calling, and the results of that nurturing and focus are in the glass.

 

Valdemar Estates

At Valdemar Estates, Head Winemaker Devyani Gupta upholds a legacy of five generations of Spanish winemaking.

Photo Courtesy of Valdemar Estates

Sip, Savor & Stay

To feel like you’re staying on a wine estate — because you are — we recommend Eritage Resort, with 22 rooms set on 300 vineyard-laced acres and a destination restaurant. The property also sits on a small, private reservoir, so jump on a hotel paddleboard or paddle a kayak in season. Take a leisurely stroll through Whitman College’s famous sculpture walk; stops six and seven are magnificent totem poles. Those who remember Andrae’s Kitchen from its humble gas station roots should andale to AK’s Mercado, his new taco-forward venture on Main Street, inspired by south of the border masa.

Getting here from Seattle: Four-and-a-half-hour drive, or a one-hour flight.

 

Tri-Cities

As sprawling as Walla Walla is compact, the Tri-Cities area is the epicenter of Washington wine with more than 200 wineries within a 50-mile radius. The Red Mountain AVA is known for producing some of the best wine in the state.

 

Women in Wine

Goose Ridge Estate Winery in Richland is women-owned and managed, so sit outside on a sunny day to enjoy the Revelation Rosé, a wine founded on the strength of women. Head out to Prosser’s Vintners’ Village for a visit to Wautoma Springs, specializing in cabernet sauvignon and malbec from winemaker Jessica Munnell. Chef Rachel Mercer manages the tasting room and creates the food pairings. On Red Mountain itself, Hedges Family Estate inhabits a beautiful French chateau with an outstanding view of the vines. Sarah Hedges Goedhart has overseen winemaking at the estate since 2015.

Enjoy a fresh pour of Revelation Rosé at Goose Ridge Vineyards in Richland.

Photo courtesy of Goose Ridge Vineyards

Hedges Family Estate on Red Mountain in Benton City.

Photo courtesy of Hedges Family Estate

Since 2015, Sarah Hedges Goedhart has been at the helm of winemaking at Hedges Family Estate.

Photo courtesy of Hedges Family Estate

Sip, Savor & Stay

Tri-Cities is all about the land, reveling in the food and drink that come from the soil. Surrounded by hops producing farms, Varietal Beer Co. in Sunnyside is a destination microbrewery not to be missed. Great Mexican food in the region abounds, such as Taqueria Tepeque in Grandview, a family-run joint known for excellent tacos. The aptly named Wine O’Clock in Prosser serves artisan pizzas and small plates from a rotating, seasonal menu. Kiona Vineyards on Red Mountain has outdoor tables with big mountain views and a killer charcuterie plate, reservations are recommended.

Outside view of the tasting room at Kiona Vineyards

The tasting room at Kiona Vineyards on Red Mountain.

Photo courtesy of Kiona Vineyards

For an epic home base, rent out the Glass House with some wine-loving friends. The five- bedroom property with a pool was designed by Tom Kundig from Seattle, renowned for his winery designs and offering jealousy-inducing views of Red Mountain.

Getting here from Seattle: Three-and-a-half-hour drive, or a one-hour flight. 

 

Group of people enjoying a weekend getaway, visiting a tasting room at Red Mountain AVA

Enjoy a view of the vineyards while dining outside on Red Mountain.

Photo courtesy of Red Mountain AVA

Woodinville

So near Seattle it’s practically a suburb, Woodinville is our go-to for a taste of wine country that’s still close to home. 

 

Women in Wine

Look no further than Chateau Ste. Michelle for a highly skilled team of women winemakers. By some estimates, VP of Winemaking Katie Nelson makes more wine than most of the other wineries in the state combined. For a more indie vibe, Damsel Cellars opened in the same Hollywood Hills neighborhood in 2013, from owner and winemaker Mari Womack.

Chateau Ste Michelle

Chateau Ste. Michelle in Woodinville boasts a talented team of women winemakers.

Photo courtesy of Chateau Ste. Michelle

Woman inspecting grape leaves in a vineyard during a wine country weekend getaway.

Katie Nelson, Chateau Ste. Michelle’s VP of winemaking, is behind more wine than most of the state’s wineries put together.

Photo courtesy of Chateau Ste. Michelle

Mari Womack, owner and winemaker at Damsel Cellars in Woodinville.

Photo courtesy of Damsel Cellars

Many of the other women-led wineries on this list also maintain tasting rooms in Woodinville, including Goose Ridge and Valdemar.

Sip, Savor & Stay

Woodinville is growing quickly, but two old favorites always deliver. The Hollywood Tavern, dating back to 1947, still serves perfect pub food in its quaint old house setting. Woodinville Cut Shop barbecues tangy meat in a roadhouse honky tonk that is “always kid-friendly, until it’s definitely not.” For that cozy stay-cation vibe yet so close to home, check out Willows Lodge for lush lodgings, gourmet cuisine, and true serenity.

Getting here from Seattle: A 30-minute drive. 

The Hollywood Tavern is a historic wine country tavern and restaurant.

Photo courtesy of Hollywood Tavern

Willows Lodge offers a cozy stay with delicious food and beautiful grounds.

Photo courtesy of Willows Lodge

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