Despite the fact that the Auction of Washington Wines, an annual destination weekend that raises funds for Seattle Children’s, occurs in and around Woodinville over three days this month (August 16–18), many locals shuttle back and forth for each evening’s party, dinner and event. This year marks the fundraiser’s 25th anniversary, and we say, why not make a weekend of it? After all, the bucolic town offers the largest concentration of Washington’s top tasting rooms (about 90 and counting), as well as fresh air, pretty vistas and small-town hospitality. Let our insider tips help you plan your weekend.
With so many options, which wineries do you visit? For auction attendees, the obvious choice is to get familiar with the vintages you’ll be bidding on over the weekend. Check the auction’s website (auctionofwashingtonwines.org/wineries) to learn which wineries are participating in auction events; many have tasting rooms in Woodinville. Other sure-fire fun spots: Covington Cellars’ (18580 142nd Ave. NE; 425.806.8636; covingtoncellars.com) posh tasting room feels like an upscale restaurant (with food to match); Efestē (19730 144th Ave. NE; 425.398.7200; efeste.com) always feels like party central; and the secret speakeasy vibe of Alexandria Nicole Cellars (Hollywood Schoolhouse, 14810 NE 145th St.; 425.487.9463; alexandrianicolecellars.com) never fails to deliver.
WHERE TO STAY
The award-winning Willows Lodge is likely booked by now, but nearby hotels, such as the Woodmark Hotel, Yacht Club & Spa in Kirkland (1200 Carillon Point; 800.822.3700; thewoodmark.com) or A Cottage Creek Inn in Redmond (12525 Avondale Road NE; 425.881.5606; cottagecreekinn.com), are less than 10 miles away. The Woodmark’s Wine Weekend Package starts at $209 per night and includes transportation; driver services, such as Uber (uber.com), Barrel Wine Tours (barrelwinetours.com) or Bon Vivant Wine Tours (bonvivanttours.com), can also provide rides to the wineries.
WHERE TO EAT
Sit down for a stellar meal at The Barking Frog at Willows Lodge (14580 NE 145th St.; 425.424.2999; willowslodge.com), or surround yourself with wine at Purple Café & Wine Bar (14459 Woodinville-Redmond Road NE; 425.483.7129; thepurplecafe.com). Throw some bocce ball and dine on brick-oven-fired pizza at Novelty Hill–Januik (14710 Woodinville-Redmond Road NE; 425.481.5502; noveltyhilljanuik.com).
AUCTION OF WASHINGTON WINES WEEKEND DETAILS
The 25th annual Auction of Washington Wines is a three-day destination weekend that celebrates Washington wines and benefits the uncompensated care program at Seattle Children’s and Washington State University’s viticulture and enology program
When: Thursday–Saturday, August 16–18 (gala auction on Saturday)
What and where: Thursday, August 16: The casual picnic and barrel auction on the lawn at Chateau Ste. Michelle (14111 NE 145th St.; 425.488.1133; ste-michelle.com)
Friday, August 17: Various winemaker dinners around town at private estates, acclaimed restaurants and wineries
Saturday, August 18: The gala Auction of Washington Wines on the tented grounds of Chateau Ste. Michelle
Cost: $150–$1,000 per person, depending on event (full weekend packages are available; auctionofwashingtonwines.org)