Situated along the glistening Puget Sound and between tree-covered mountain ranges, there’s no question how Seattle earned its Emerald City nickname. Once a sleepy burg hidden away in the Pacific Northwest, the city is now booming with the explosive growth of local industries. It teems with top-flight restaurants to go with the area’s unmatched outdoor beauty. Depending on the time of year, you can hike or ski in the mountains by day and enjoy all the city has to offer by night. Not to mention, there are more than 100 wineries only a stone’s throw away. —Sean Sullivan
Grape production is dominated by the state’s “Big Five”—Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, Chardonnay, Riesling—which make up more than 80% of Washington’s output. However, more than 70 varieties are grown here, from Aglianico to Zinfandel. Due to eastern Washington’s warm summer temperatures, the state’s wines are known for their lush fruit flavors. Cool overnight temperatures help grapes retain natural acidity. It imparts both a New World sense of ripeness and an Old World character of ample acidity and tannic structure.
Where to Taste
Just about 30 minutes from downtown Seattle, Woodinville is home to more than 100 wineries and tasting rooms, including two of Washington’s founding producers, Chateau Ste. Michelle and Columbia Winery. But you can also taste within the city limits. Seattle has more than two dozen urban wineries and tasting rooms. South of downtown, SODO Urbanworks boasts 10 wineries and tasting rooms along with a brewery and pizza parlor. In Seattle’s historic Pioneer Square area, check out The Estates Wine Room, home to Washington’s Seven Hills Winery and Double Canyon along with Oregon’s Archery Summit. On Saturdays, stop by Eight Bells Winery, shoehorned into an alleyway in the bustling Ravenna neighborhood. Want to see what could be the largest urban winery west of the Mississippi? Head to Charles Smith Wines Jet City and sip wine while you watch planes take off and land at Boeing Field.
Where to Dine
At RN74, Executive Chef Shawn Applin crafts superb American- and French-inspired dishes with locally sourced, seasonal ingredients. Carve out time to pour through the 80-plus-page wine list that contains everything from high-end Burgundies and extreme rarities (1877 Lafite-Rothschild anyone?) to local favorites. Or venture to Joule in Wallingford, where Iron Chef veterans Rachel Yang and Seif Chirchi make Korean fusion food with a Northwest flair, and pair it all with wines from the Pacific Northwest. In Tangletown, head to Mkt. for Italian-inspired dishes made from locally sourced ingredients.
Where to Stay
A self-proclaimed urban outpost of wine country, Kimpton Hotel Vintage Seattle is located within walking distance to scores of downtown restaurants and nightlife. Rooms are vineyard inspired and feature wine-themed artwork, and the hotel offers nightly wine tastings. Spend the night at The Edgewater Hotel, a historic spot on the pier.
When to Go
It’s no secret. When it’s not the Emerald City, Seattle is the Rain City. Plan to visit during the area’s oh-so-brief summer.
No visit to Seattle is complete without a ferry ride to take in the area’s scenery. Catch one to Bainbridge Island and walk to downtown Winslow, where you can enjoy a wood-fired pizza at Bruciato. Afterward, sip wines from local wineries at several nearby tasting rooms.