Washington Wine Country Getaways: Eastern Cascades

A tour through Washington’s most scenic destination wineries and breweries

By Paul Zitarelli October 14, 2014


This article originally appeared in the October 2014 issue of Seattle magazine.


There’s nothing like dodging weaving semis on Snoqualmie Pass to make a person thirsty. Fortunately, by the time you descend the eastern flanks of the Cascades, it’s time to exit Interstate 90 and head toward Suncadia Resort, where you’ll find Swiftwater Cellars (Cle Elum, 301 Rope Rider Drive; 509.674.6555; swiftwatercellars.com), just four miles from the highway. The decor is Tuscan villa meets Northwest coal mine; the atmosphere is family-friendly (including canine members), and the typical scene includes scads of parents sipping a series of Swiftwater wines on the spacious deck while their children and animals frolic in the fields below. With Suncadia lodging just a walk or short shuttle ride away, those parents display an unworried, “Maybe I’ll have just one more glass” attitude. The wines, made by longtime winemaker Linda Trotta (formerly of Sonoma’s Gundlach Bundschu Winery), pair wonderfully with the wood-fired flatbreads made on site at Swiftwater’s Hoist House Restaurant.

The relaxed vibe here makes it difficult to depart, but depart you must, up and over Blewett Pass on U.S. Highway 97. This back-door, bat-cave entrance into Leavenworth is one of the most pleasingly verdant drives in the state during most seasons (though often harrowing during the winter). Today, you’re only passing through Washington’s faux Bavaria, heading eight miles beyond to reach  Boudreaux Cellars (Leavenworth, 4551 Icicle Creek Road; 509.548.5858; boudreauxcellars.com). Boudreaux also has a tasting room in Leavenworth with regular hours, but an entirely different experience awaits serious wine collectors (and wine club members and those interested in buying wine by the case) who make an appointment ahead of time to visit Rob Newsom at his off-the-grid winery. The winery is four miles beyond the power grid, and all electricity is provided by propane generators. Use the odometer—this is not an easy address to find—and take a deep breath before driving your car over Eightmile Creek on a rickety-looking bridge. Upon arrival, seek out the hand-crafted wooden bar, where Newsom will regale you with tales of winemaking and rock-climbing in his Cajun twang. There’s also a loft with 360-degree view of the barrels, but be sure not to leave without seeing the subterranean barrel room, which feels a little like Old World catacombs.

Hand-dipped bottle seals at Boudreaux Cellars in Leavenworth

Best Bottles to Bring Home

Swiftwater Chardonnay // Boudreaux Cellars Merlot

Where to Stay:

Five miles back toward Leavenworth on Icicle Road, you’ll reach your dinner and lodging destination for the night, the Sleeping Lady Resort (Leavenworth, 7375 Icicle Road; 509.548.6344; sleepinglady.com). Dinner at the on-site Kingfisher restaurant is served buffet style, but this is no typical buffet, with its changing menu featuring seasonal ingredients fresh from Sleeping Lady’s 2-acre organic garden. The accommodations are a series of Northwest dream cabins, all airy lofts and alcoves—and no TVs in sight. All the better: You’ll be inspired to walk the grounds, which include bars and cafés, a sauna and rock-lined swimming pools.



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