MikeL's Guide to WA Wineries
Weddings at Wineries

(This page was originally written as a reply to an email asking about good wineries for weddings. I realized others may look for this information, so I decided to make a web page of it...)

I've put an asterisk "*" next to the ones where you could actually be in the vineyards; this is important to me, but may not be to you. Driving estimates assume you'll be coming from Seattle.

Please note: Since writing this note, I have word that the following wineries do not do weddings: Chateau Ste. Michelle, Hedges, DeLille, L'Ecole #41.

In the Seattle area, the most lovely, though undoubtedly the most expensive, would probably be Chateau Ste. Michelle with it's sculpted grounds and large party capabilities. Columbia Winery is a close second. DeLille Cellars would be nice too, though much smaller. Hedges in Issaquah is also a good bet, especially if the weather may be marginal. Bainbridge Island Vineyards* (1/2 hour ferry from downtown Seattle) would be really lovely, but I don't know if they could accomodate a large party. Greenbank Farm on Whidbey Island (1 hour driving plus 1/2 hour ferry) may be able to handle a larger party; Whidbey Island Vineyards* can handle a small party [I had my 10 year anniversary/recommitment ceremony here -- MikeL]. Mount Baker Vineyards* (2 hour drive) would be nice for an outdoor event.

I've not yet been to any of the San Juan islands wineries, you might try San Juan Vineyards* (not San Juan Cellars, they don't have facilities.) Also Lopez Island Vineyards* might be nice, but I think they're pretty small. As above, the ferry ride is sure scenic, but it gets hopelessly overfilled in the summer. You could do it by having a friend with a minivan pick up your party at the ferry dock as walk-ons, I don't think pedestrian access fills up. Although it sounds inconvenient, I'd bet this would make for a fun, romantic, and memorable wedding for all!

Most of the rest of the western WA wineries may have nice wines, but are either too small for a wedding party, or are not especially scenic. (Don't hesitate to remind me if I've missed any -- email: send email to mikel.)

Out to Eastern WA, it's about a 3 hour drive to most of the wineries in the Yakima Valley. (With ferry delays this may actually be shorter than the San Juan Islands...) I'd highly recommend Bonair Winery*; Gail & Shirley are the greatest people, and they have a nice lawn with fountain and gazebo. (My wife and I are planning a 10 year anniversary wedding vow renewal ceremony here.) Tefft Cellars* has a nice porch area and an attached B&B, but may not be able to handle a large party. Staton Hills Vineyard*, Covey Run Vintners* and Hyatt Vineyards* can probably handle a larger party. Chinook Wines* is wonderful, but it would have to be a very small party. Hedges Cellars (Benton City) or Terra Blanca Vintners would both be wonderful and could accomodate a larger party, but the drive is a little over 4 hours from Seattle.

All the way out to Walla Walla (6 hours drive), Glen Fiona is in a beautiful old carriage house with a wonderful Victorian B&B on the property and fantastic wines, though they probably couldn't handle a large party. L'Ecole No. 41 is an incredible old Victorian schoolhouse with a modern kitchen and catering facilities, nice people and fine wines.

Spokane is also about 6 hours drive, but it would be worth it for Mountain Dome Winery with their excellent sparkling wines ('though they're probably too small to do weddings). Arbor Crest Wine Cellars, is large, commercial and stunning perched atop a cliff overlooking the town.

Lastly, in Southern WA it's a lovely drive along the river (with waterfalls) out I84 from Portland to the town of Hood River (3 hours drive to Portland, then another hour). This takes you to Edgefield, a large commercial venture with sculpted gardens, restaurants and a movie theater who could easily handle a large party. Wind River Cellars*, Flerchinger Vineyards and Hood River Vineyards are all lovely with fine wines, but back to the small party category.

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