Wine and dine in fine style just outside Seattle

Dining and DrinkingLifestyle and LeisureWinesRestaurantsHotel and Accommodation IndustryPersonal Service

Think Pacific Northwest wine regions and you probably don't think of the greater Seattle area. But enter Woodinville, Wash., just a 30-minute drive from Seattle and home to more than 100 wineries and tasting rooms. As I recently learned on a trip to the region, there's more to this suburb than just wine. The tab: $660 for two nights at the Willows, $179 for dinner and $5-$10 for wine-tasting at various wineries.

A short walk

Mere steps from Woodinville wineries and tasting rooms is the Willows Lodge (14580 NE 145th St; [425] 424-3900, ), a luxurious resort set on several acres along the Sammamish River. The Willows is less quintessential lodge and more multifaceted hotel with on-site features that include a fine-dining restaurant (the Barking Frog), a spa, fitness center and heated outdoor pool. Its 84 rooms reflect what you'd expect from a luxurious Pacific Northwest lodge; each has its own fireplace, and private patio or balcony. Bonus: It's dog friendly.

The Herbfarm

Ask locals where to go for dinner and they'll probably point you to the Herbfarm (14590 NE 145th St; [425] 485-5300, ), featuring a nine-course dinner paired with six wines and one seating per night. This is a serious dining experience, with optional festivities that include a hosted garden tour and pre-dinner wine cellar open house. Each day's menu is finished just hours before dinner, with every course featuring locally sourced ingredients, many of which come from the restaurant's garden. The dinner (with wine, tax and service included) begins at $179 a person.

Spirited offerings

Woodinville isn't just for wine enthusiasts. It's also a playground for beer and spirit lovers, with several recently opened craft distilleries, including Project V Distillery & Sausage Co. (19495 144th Ave NE; [425] 398-1738, Tucked amid Woodinville wine-tasting rooms, Project V is a unique take on the traditional distillery. It's known for its vodka, using locally grown wheat and grain, but it also has a gin and recently added a whiskey to its portfolio. Free tastings and tours are offered on the weekends, where you can buy spirits and sausage, which is a byproduct of its spent grain that they supply to a local boar farm.

Tastings galore

Woodinville is home to tasting rooms for 19 eastern Washington wineries. However, it also has its own wineries, such as Chateau Ste. Michelle (14111 NE 145th St; [425] 488-1133,, Washington's oldest winery. Even better, most of Woodinville's wineries and tasting rooms are within walking distance of one another, meaning having your own wheels isn't necessary.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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