Chateau Ste. Michelle Review
Address: 14111 NE 145th St. Woodinville,Washington 98072.
Phone Number: 425-488-1133
Tasting Hours: 10:00-5:00
Region: Puget Sound AVA, Woodinville, Woodinville Tourist District, Washington
Reviewer: Denise Gangnes
Review Date: 3/4/2012
Reviewer: Denise Gangnes
Undeniably, Chateau Ste. Michelle is the granddaddy of Washington wines. Their gorgeous 80+ acre estate opened in the 1970s and continues to reign as one of the Seattle areas most popular tourist attractions.
The Place: Located approximately 25 minutes from the heart of Downtown Seattle, Ste. Michelle is designed to accommodate large crowds on their beautiful grounds, with world-class wines and a facility to match. Plan to spend at least an hour sipping wines and browsing their multi-roomed tasting operation, or bring a picnic lunch and enjoy the tiered trout ponds, old growth trees and beautiful landscaping.
The Experience: Cornerstone of the Woodinville wine country, Ste. Michelle has had more than three decades to perfect the winery experience and it shows. Guests are offered a litany of options for tasting and touring . The expansive tasting rooms feature an unending display of wine-related knick-knacks, hand-made art and crafts items. While this may be visually overwhelming, it serves the purpose to tempt you while waiting in line for your next pour. Employees are friendly, professional and knowledgeable.
The Wines: Tasting all of Ste. Michelles wines would require several visits. As parent company to more than a dozen wineries, their offerings range from reasonably priced Rieslings to award-winning vintage Cabernets. Several tiers of tastings are offered, from a complimentary option that includes a tour of the wine-making operation, to a $75 per person, exclusive tour and tasting with food pairings.
Extras: Their popular monthly chef dinners cost $100+ per person and seat approximately 60 people in a comfortably elegant dining room, but sell out months in advance. Garden tours are available from April through October; the $10 fee can be applied to your wine purchase. Other special events are located on their website, which is easy to navigate.
Insiders Tip: During the summer months, cruise ship passengers are regularly bussed in to visit the Chateau. In addition to the massive crowds that accumulate during the warm-weather tourist season, this can make for a challenging tasting experience if youre forced to battle for position to get a glimpse of the tasting bar. Be sure to check their online calendar for the dates of their popular summer concert series, located on a gently sloping back lawn behind the tasting room. This can either be a unique and memorable opportunity to see your favorite artist during a visit the winery, or your worst nightmare if you just happen upon the grounds on the day of a show. Our advice go in the off season (October April) or during the week to maximize your tasting experience.