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 Michelle’s history in Washington dates back to 1934 – the year after federal prohibition was repealed – and its French-style manor in the rural King County community of Woodinville was built in 1976, a move that created wine touring in Washington.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
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.