Strike out in any direction of Washington State and you are bound to find wineries. One of the best things about Washington wine country is the natural beauty of each unique region. Western Washington’s climate is temperate with plenty of greenery and the weather is fairly mild. Cross over the Cascade Mountain range to Eastern Washington for a deep contrast. The landscape is rugged and sparse with a wide open vastness. The weather is hot in the summer and there is little rain.
Presented below are the major Washington state winery regions which mostly coincide with the Washington State AVA’s (American Viticultural areas), where the wine grapes are grown. Use this section as a guide to decide which region to visit based on distance from the Seattle metro area and the number of wineries within each region. Click your desired region to read more about that area, what to expect and the wineries there.
In Eastern and Western Washington. Running along the Columbia River and between Washington and Oregon, this is a great region to visit from Portland en route to Eastern Washington. Or, if you are in Prosser, the Tri-Cities or Red Mountain, it’s less than an hour to the beginning of this area. There are about 20 wineries along the Columbia River, some of which are open regular business hours, so it’s best to call ahead. Plan 3 or more hours from the Seattle area depending on traffic. Click here to browse wineries in the Columbia Gorge.
In Eastern Washington. The Horse Heaven Hills are visable from about the middle of the Yakima Valley as you drive Southeast along I-82. They look like a ridge to the south, but they are a southern-facing, gentle slope that runs down to the Columbia River. There are about 6 wineries sprinkled throughout the vast vineyards. There are two approaches to this region, from Seattle head south at Prosser, or from Oregon head north at Paterson. From Seattle, plan about 3 hours (via Yakima). Click here to browse wineries on the Horse Heaven Hills.
In the North Cascade Mountain Range. Lake Chelan, is a great summer family destination and an exciting new AVA. There are about 15 wineries situated around the south end of the lake around the towns of Chelan and Manson. Lake Chelan was a tourist destination long before there were wineries here, so there are many hotels and restaurants and dozens of rental homes for families or groups of couples. Plan about 3.5 hours from Seattle and more in the winter due to poor driving conditions and/or closed mountain passes. Click here to browse wineries in Lake Chelan.
In the North Cascade Mountain Range. There are three main towns in the North Cascades; Leavenworth, a bavarian themed town that has a bunch of wineries and other tourist activities; Wenatchee, which only has a few wineries but is great if wine tasting is only part of what you want to do; and Lake Chelan, which is a great summer family destination and an exciting new wine region. There are over 40 wineries concentrated here along with vast beauty and tons of outdoor activites. Most wineries in this area are open regular business hours, but some of them only seasonally. Plan about 3 – 3.5 hours from Seattle and more in the winter due to poor driving conditions. Click here to browse wineries in the North Cascades.
In Western Washington. The Puget Sound AVA covers a lot of ground. You can head North to Whatcom County and visit wineries around Bellingham (about 2 hours drive from Seattle), or you can visit the wineries on the San Juan Islands (a ferry ride may be required). There is also a collection of wineries on the Olympic Peninsula from Centralia all the way up to Port Angeles (you can drive from Seattle or take a ferry over). Seattle and Woodinville are included in the Puget Sound AVA, but because there is such a concentration of wineries in these areas, and most of these wineries do not source their grapes from this AVA, they are posted seperately. Click here to browse wineries in the Puget Sound.
In Eastern Washington. Zillah is the main home to the 15 wineries of the Rattlesnake Hills Wine Trail. There are more wineries in Zillah that do not officially belong to the association, but are within the AVA boundaries (Sheridan Vineyard, Agate Field Vineyard, etc.)- they are listed within the Yakima Valley. The Yakima Valley includes Rattlesnake Hills AVA, where there are dozens of wineries in this region that hold regular hours, most of which are off of exits 50 & 52 of I-82. Plan about 2.5 hours from Seattle to Zillah. Click here to browse wineries of the Rattlesnake Hills.
In Eastern Washington. At the very end of the Yakima Valley, Red Mountain AVA is home to many of the state’s most celebrated vineyards & wineries- about 15 wineries total. Red Mountain has a concentration of quality wineries in a small area making it an ideal touring spot. Take exit 96 off of I-82 to access this winery region. Plan about 3.75 hours from Seattle. Click here to browse wineries on Red Mountain.
In Western Washington. There are many wineries in the Seattle and surrounding areas (outside of Woodinville -up to 20 minutes away from downtown Seattle.) Some of these are not open to the public without an appointment, but there are more wineries making Seattle their home. For locals and visitors alike, it’s easy to make a quick visit to near-by wineries. Click here to browse wineries in and around Seattle.
In Eastern Washington. Spokane is minutes away from the Idaho border and close to outdoor recreational areas making this a great vacation getaway. Click here to browse wineries in and around Spokane.
In Eastern Washington. Like the name implies, this area is made up of three cities, Kennewick, Pasco and Richland. A great collection of wineries along with suitable restaurants and hotels that make this a great central place to call home for a few nights while you visit wine country. You’ll find about 17 wineries around the Tri-Cities, but it’s also close to Red Mountain and Walla Walla, making it ideal as a central location to stay overnight and branch out to other regions. Plan about 4 hours from Seattle. Click here to browse wineries in the Tri-Cities.
In Eastern Washington. A charming small town that has a huge number of high quality wineries, high-end restaurants and wonderful hotels and B&B’s. This wine region is organized and cutting edge, despite their small (but growing) vineyard acreage. You can find over 100 wineries in the area, so this region requires some time to explore properly. I would recommend spending at least 2 nights and 3 days in Walla Walla. Plan about 4.5 to 5 hours from Seattle (I have made it there in 4, but it depends on traffic, number of stops, etc.). Click here to browse wineries in Walla Walla.
In Western Washington, there is quite a concentration of about 45 wineries in this suburban city 18 miles NE of Seattle. Most have regular business hours. You will find wineries of every size and gradure in Woodinville and it’s an easy drive from Seattle. There are plenty of places to dine and stay overnight for the world-class traveler. Plan about a 30 minute drive from downtown Seattle. Click here to browse wineries in Woodinville.
In Eastern Washington. Yakima, the city, is the beginning point of a string of wineries all the way down the Yakima Valley that runs SE along highway I-82 to Red Mountain. Plan about 2.5 hours to Yakima, the city, where there are a handfull of wineries. Prosser is toward the southern end of the Yakima Valley, this small town is the birthplace of Washington wine and the home to some of the state’s oldest wineries. There is a good concentration of wineries between exits 80 & 82 off I-82. Plan about a 3.5 hour drive from Seattle to Prosser. There are about 60 wineries in this area that takes about an hour to drive from end to end. Click here to browse wineries in the Yakima Valley.