For years, Seattle’s wine-thirsty travelers would drive 30 minutes east to Woodinville’s 100-plus tasting rooms or day trip to Washington Wine Country on the eastern side of the state, home to most of the grape-growing areas. Those are still fantastic options, but a recent spike in Seattle urban wineries is putting Seattle proper on the map as a wine destination, meaning great sipping is a cab, bus, or walk away.
Throughout city limits, more than 20 small-production wineries are part of Seattle Urban Wineries (seattleurbanwineries.com), including SoDo’s Elsom Cellars (2960 Fourth Ave S; elsomcellars.com), Fremont’s Domanico Cellars (825 N 49th St; domanicocellars.com), and Ravenna’s Eight Bells Winery (6213 Roosevelt Way NE; 8bellswinery.com). All the group’s wineries are open for tastings on the second Saturday of every month, and many are open more frequently or by appointment.
In summer 2015, the city welcomed Charles Smith Wines Jet City (H1136 S Albro Pl; charlessmithwines.com), the largest urban winery on the West Coast. The outfit is a full-scale production winery by the namesake Washington winemaker. Smith’s big rock ’n’ roll personality is reflected in the facility—an old Dr. Pepper bottling plant in the heart of the blue-collar Georgetown neighborhood—and in his wines, which are all made on-site and served in two different tasting rooms. Expect to see wines from his various labels: K Vintners, Charles Smith Wines, Sixto, Wines of Substance, Vino, and B. Leighton. Try the clean, refreshing Kung Fu Girl Riesling or the full-bodied Cattle King Syrah.
Seattle also lays claim to several tasting rooms—SoDo’s Kerloo Cellars (16 N Second Ave; kerloocellars.com) and Queen Anne’s Robert Ramsay Cellars (1629 Queen Anne Ave N; robertramsaycellars.com), to name a few—for a sip of the good stuff from wineries around the state. Meanwhile, wine bars and outfits like The Tasting Room (1924 Post Alley; thetastingroomseattle.com) in Pike Place Market offer tastes and bottles from some of Washington’s most celebrated wines. And for a true sample of the best of Washington wine, don’t miss Taste Washington (Mar 31–Apr 3; tastewashington.org), the largest single-region wine event in the country, with grand tastings, special parties, farm-to-table dinners, chef demonstrations, food and wine seminars, and more.