Right here in Snohomish County, sample the highest quality, award-winning wines and spirits from people who care deeply about what they’re doing and how they’re doing it.
New to the region? Uptown Wine and Beer Bar in historic small town Snohomish is a great first stop. Owners Jackie and Erik Vail pour only Washington wines, ciders, and beers.
It’s a cozy, welcoming setting, with seats at the bar, and tables inside or out front on the patio. (Heaters make the space usable even in winter; that’s where locals congregated to beat cabin fever during last winter’s snow!) For $17, you can taste six Washington wines; the lineup changes weekly. On a recent visit, wines were from Pretender, Cougar Crest, Otis Kenyon, Bartholomew, Forgeron, and Mark Ryan.
Sparkling wine production is on the rise in Washington state, and during the holiday season, Treveri Cellars’ Sparkling Syrah Brut goes quickly. Uptown’s popular wine club recently added a quarterly “Bubbles Club” option, as well. Enjoy small plates while you taste; the menu includes cheese boards, flatbreads, salads, and other simple dishes.
Uptown Wine and Beer Bar | 122 Avenue A, Snohomish 425-221-9573 | uptownwinebeer.bar
From Uptown, it’s a short walk to Randolph Cellars in downtown Snohomish, where the Schemke family is into its seventh harvest season. Their entire winery production is at their space in Snohomish, from trucking back whole grape clusters, crush, fermentation, press, ageing, and even bottling down. (If you visit during harvest, ask to go downstairs to see it first-hand.)
“We’re focusing on becoming an everlasting winery in Snohomish for generations to come…”
“We’re focusing on becoming an everlasting winery in Snohomish for generations to come,” said Alexander Schemke.
Randolph makes one barrel of “Rudolph’s Red Wine Blend” for sale Thanksgiving through Christmas (or until it’s gone) in a special Christmas-themed bottle. During December, they offer freshly made mulled wine, combining their wine with a scratch recipe of mulling spices, by the mug.
Randolph Cellars | 1007 1st Street, Snohomish 360-243-3994 | randolphcellars.com
Ready for an exclusive wine estate experience? Quilceda Creek has been described as a bucket-list experience by many international travelers.
“All of our tours are private,” said MacKenna Bean, Tour Manager (and a Level II Sommelier). “It’s a personalized experience for each group coming through. Our tours offer the opportunity to walk through our winery facilities, take a behind-the-scenes look at production, and see what it takes to consistently make some of the highest rated Cabernet Sauvignon in the world. We finish with a tasting of two of our wines – the CVR and our flagship Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley.”
A major benefit to coming to Quilceda Creek is the opportunity to buy directly from the winery; the private membership currently has a four-year waitlist.
Hosted one-hour tours are available most Thursdays and Fridays for up to six guests and are by appointment only; book two to three weeks ahead.
Quilceda Creek | 11306 52nd Street SE, Snohomish 800-877-4270 | quilcedacreek.com
For something a little different, head south to Bothell. McMenamins is known for its unique restorations, and with McMenamins Anderson School, they’ve turned Bothell’s first junior high school into a five-acre campus with hotel, pool, theater, and many dining and drinking options. McMenamins’ own Edgefield Winery, Edgefield Distillery, Cornelius Pass Roadhouse Distillery, and Anderson Brewery beverages are poured.
“…see what it takes to consistently make some of the highest rated Cabernet Sauvignon in the world.”
As they say, “no hall pass is needed” to explore. Enjoy a whisky, brandy, rum, or cordial flight in the tiny Principal’s Office; sit fireside in The Shed for small bites and cocktails; have lunch overlooking the pool at the North Shore Lagoon; or enjoy the courtyard with its colorful landscaping and outdoor fire pits. At The Tavern on the Square, you’ll find flights of McMenamin’s house spirits, wines, and beers.
At the hotel, room names honor notable folks from the Bothell community, including local legendary coach Harold “Pop” Keeney, Olympic synchronized swimmers Tracie Ruiz and Candy Costie, and Senator Patty Murray.
Check the website for frequent live music and special events. Tours of the on-site Anderson Brewery are available as well with advance notice.
McMenamins Anderson School 18607 Bothell Way NE, Bothell | 425-398-0122 mcmenamins.com/anderson-school
A Pacific Northwest visit should include some time near the water, and luckily, that’s where you’ll find Edmonds’ Scratch Distillery and Everett’s Bluewater Distillery.
You can’t help but notice the words “Gin Equals Love” painted in huge lettering in the Scratch Distillery tasting room. Owners Kim and Bryan Karrick both love gin, and feeling that love, along with the best possible ingredients, is truly central to making great spirits. Also: Bryan made Kim a gin-and-tonic on their first date.
The Karricks are doing this their own way: sourcing ingredients locally, employing local Edmonds residents, and crafting an organic, handmade product made with care. The result? Award-winning gin, vodka, whiskey, and more, served in a kid-friendly and dog-friendly space. Official tastings are on Saturdays and Sundays at 1:30 PM and 3:30 PM, but guests can email or call to arrange for other times. For a truly personal experience, book a GINiology class (for up to eight people), where you can create your own custom gin to take home.
Scratch Distillery | 190 Sunset Avenue South, Edmonds 425-673-7046 | scratchdistillery.com
Heading north to visit Bluewater Distillery in Everett, you won’t be able to see all the ways that owner John Lundin is infusing his philosophy into his operation, but his focus on the environment and sustainability is key to everything.
Bluewater is in a converted warehouse space housing the distillery, bottling operation, tasting bar, and restaurant. Lundin bottles his products onsite in American-made glass from the one domestic supplier still in business. Nothing ready-made ever enters the restaurant kitchen. Absolutely everything is made from scratch and little is wasted. (For instance, the fruit mash from the raspberry infused vodka becomes sauce.) Lundin even built his own furniture; he knows woodworking and metalworking, since he’s also built his own sailboat.
“I worked with all local suppliers for the metal,” Lundin said. “The cedar is repurposed. A lot of the wood is from Oso. We keep everything really local.”
John Lundin’s focus on the environment and sustainability is key to everything.
Tasting at Bluewater is a thoughtful experience; your server takes her time and makes sure you do, too, working your way through gin, two vodkas, and aquavit. On a recent visit, a blood orange infused vodka was offered; the liqueurs and infusions change seasonally.
“From floral to fruity to savory, we’re able to capture a tremendous quality of flavor through small batch infusions,” Lundin said.
Enjoy thoughtfully-made cocktails at Bluewater, too. As you would imagine, no shortcuts are taken behind the bar: no soda guns, only fresh juices, their own ginger beer, tonic water, and soda waters.
Cocktail making classes are very popular; they sell out quickly, but private classes can be booked for up to 12 people. Lundin said they offer the classes as a way of inspiring people, sharing information, and getting people thinking differently about cocktails.
In addition to Bluewater-made beverages, the menu includes local beers, wines, and spirits.
“We like to showcase other local suppliers who make products that are complementary to ours. For instance, we aren’t producing our own whiskey these days, but we bring in the best of the local independent whiskeys, from places like Copperworks, Skip Rock, and 2Bar. Every single bottle tells a story.”
Bluewater Organic Distilling 1205 Craftsman Way, Ste. 109, Everett 425-404-1408 | bluewaterdistilling.com