2 Washington wineries named among U.S. most admired

By on November 9, 2016
Winemakers, wine collectors and philanthropists gathered Saturday, Aug. 16, 2014 in Woodinville at Chateau Ste. Michelle for The Wine Gala, the finale for the Auction of Washington Wines. The three-day event has raised more than $30 million since its inception in 1988 for Seattle Children’s Hospital and wine research at Washington State University.

Chateau Ste. Michelle was built in 1976 in Woodinville, Wash., and the label began in 1967, a year that Oz Clarke marks as the beginning of the modern Washington wine industry. (Great Northwest Wine file photo)

Washington’s largest and oldest winery and one of its youngest and smallest have been named amid the nation’s 20 most-admired wine tasting rooms and experiences by Vineyard & Winery Management magazine in Santa Rosa, Calif.

Chateau Ste. Michelle in Woodinville and Westport Winery west of Aberdeen were the two Pacific Northwest wineries highlighted by the California-based magazine.

Chateau Ste. Michelle’s history in Washington dates back to 1934 – the year after federal prohibition was repealed – and its French-style manor in the rural King County community of Woodinville was built in 1976, a move that created wine touring in Washington. Today, Ste. Michelle attracts roughly 300,000 visitors per year. This draw has essentially created the Woodinville wine scene, which now counts at least 130 wineries and tasting rooms.

Coastal winery counted amid elite

Westport Winery is on the Washington coast.

Westport Winery features a scale reproduction of the nearby Grays Harbor Lighthouse, as well as an on-site restaurant, gift shop, plant nursery, pitch-and-putt golf course, gardens, vineyards and a wedding venue. (Photo by Great Northwest Wine)

In one of the most unusual places to find a winery – hundreds of miles from the nearest commercial vineyard and only eight miles from the beach in Grays Harbor County – is Westport Winery and Garden Resort. This little 6,000-case winery began in 2007 and has worked as hard as any in the state to create a unique destination that draws thousands.

Owners Blain and Kim Roberts were thrilled with the recognition from Vineyard & Winery Management magazine.

“This is simply the biggest honor we have achieved and beyond our wildest dreams,” Blain Roberts said in a news release.

Kim Roberts said being on the same list as Chateau Ste. Michelle was “an incredible honor.”

“Blain and I try to visit the most inspiring wineries and learn from them,” she said. “We love the leadership that Chateau St. Michelle has played in our state’s wine industry.”

The Roberts’ children are intimately involved in the operation, with daughter Carrie running the winery as general manager and son Dana serving as director of winemaking.

In addition to producing more than 35 wines, Westport also has an on-site restaurant, multiple themed gardens, a plant nursery, a bakery and an expansive gift shop. One of the physical highlights of the winery is its 40-foot-tall scale version of the Grays Harbor Lighthouse. Each of the wines has a coastal theme, something the owners embrace.

And during its history, Westport Winery also has donated more than $300,000 to more than 30 non-profit agencies throughout its community.



About Andy Perdue

Andy Perdue is founding partner of Great Northwest Wine LLC and a longtime wine columnist. He is a third-generation journalist who has worked at newspapers since the mid-1980s and has been writing about wine since 1998. He co-founded Wine Press Northwest magazine with Eric Degerman and served as its editor-in-chief for 15 years. He is the author of "The Northwest Wine Guide: A Buyer's Handbook" (Sasquatch, 2003) and has contributed to four other books.

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