As concierge at the wine-themed Hotel Vintage in Seattle, Lara Dennis was surrounded by the world of wine. She decided to immerse herself even further by studying for — and passing — the level I and II courses from the Court of Master Sommeliers, making her an officially certified sommelier.
Not only has it developed her palate, refined her senses, and proven she can study with the best of them, it’s also made her winery recommendations even more on point. Just let Lara know a little about your tasting preferences, and she’ll steer you toward vino that verifiably suits you.
There are, of course, plenty of worthy destinations for Washington wine tasting, both in the city close to the hotel and 20 miles northeast in Woodinville, WA, where there are more than 100 tasting rooms.
Here are a few of Lara’s top picks:
Elsom Cellars recently moved to a new location in the SoDo neighborhood, inside a building called The Adventure Hub. The new digs also feature Evergreen Escapes and KAF Adventures, two companies that can help you plan excursions while you’re here. Grab a glass of wine, cozy up with a guidebook, and dream about your next adventure.
Out of Walla Walla, Kerloo Cellars recently opened a tasting room in Seattle, also in the SoDo neighborhood. The up-and-coming winery has been getting a lot of attention and exudes a youthful energy. Lara recommends the Grenache rosé, sublimely sippable for summer.
The Tasting Room Seattle
If you’re short on time but long on curiosity about Washington wines, The Tasting Room in Pike Place Market is a must-stop. All the bottles here come from winemaker-owned Washington wineries, so you can get a taste of some of the best the state has to offer in a casual, approachable atmosphere (it includes board games!).
Chateau Ste. Michelle
Chateau Ste. Michelle is the grande dame of Woodinville wineries — if you haven’t been, put this one on your list. The estate is stunning, and there are a variety of tours and tastings available. The Summer Concert Series is also worth checking out; musicians performing this year include Jackson Browne, the Blind Boys of Alabama, Pink Martini, Chris Isaak, and more.
Beautiful grounds filled with flora, fauna and trails complement the incredible wines at JM Cellars, which Lara notes has been racking up quite a few awards lately. She likes the Tre, a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah that’s named for the winemaker’s three sons (the wine’s full name, Tre Fanciulli, means “three treasured lads” in Italian).
The Carriage House Tasting Room gives you the chance to sip DeLille Cellars’ lauded offerings, including red blend D2 that’s one of Washington’s most recognized wines. Lara calls it “complex and concentrated” and definitely worth a taste.