Former airplane designer Ben Smith and lawyer-wife Gaye McNutt based their now-culty Cadence in the heart of Seattle to showcase their range of Bordeaux-style blends from the Red Mountain appellation. Don’t miss the Ciel du Cheval Vineyard red blend, or the 2008 Camerata that was recently served with great fanfare at the White House. Tastings are by appointment only. Bonus: The couple will often pour barrel samples for visitors.
Opened in the heart of the South of Market district, once known as South of the Slot (a reference to the cable car grooves), Bluxome Street makes Pinot Noir from its own organic Balinard Vineyard in the Russian River Valley, as well as Chardonnay, a Marsanne-Roussanne blend, Sauvignon Blanc and Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. Wait, it gets better: Webster Marquez—of Anthill Farms fame—is one of the main winemakers.
The second effort of Michael Dorf, who founded the first City Winery in New York, this Chicago outpost incorporates a 175-seat restaurant and live music in addition to wine classes, winemaker dinners and tasting parties. Winemaker Robert Kowal, lured over from Oregon, makes wines from Napa Valley, Willamette Valley and Argentine fruit. Just as in New York, this winery invites customers to make their own private barrel or cases of custom-designed wine.
In Portland’s bustling, uber-hip Eastside neighborhood, ENSO offers a heady line up of wines (from Pinot Gris to Counoise) as well as regionally-made beer, salami, cheese, bread, chocolates and pie. And who doesn’t love pie? Guest winemakers come in and pour their current releases the first Friday of every month, so be sure to plan your visit accordingly. Don’t miss the 2011 Petit Sirah from Columbia Valley.
Napa superstar winemakers Robert Foley (Pride, Switchback Ridge, Hourglass, Robert Foley Vineyards) and Abe Schoener (Luna, Scholium Project) teamed up with Brooklyn native Mark Snyder to create this winery focused on small-production vino from New York’s vineyards. The winemakers use the same grapes to make wholly separate wines. Try their various takes on Seneca Lake Riesling (one’s a sparkling).