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Sip and Savor: Discover the Delights of Washington Wine Country

There’s an interesting fact about Washington Wine Country that may not be apparent to the casual oenophile. The land here shares some properties with another well-known wine-growing region.

Raquel Romans 4/7/2023
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Raquel Romans at Novelty Hill Januik

Image: FORTLOC

Due to the prestige and mystique associated with wine produced in Burgundy, wine growers all over the world try to emulate the magic of Burgundy. But few ever succeed. Perhaps many who try do not have the right weather, the right soil, nor the right experience.

Visiting Chateau Ste Michelle & Novelty Hill Januik wineries.

Nestled in the leafy suburbs of Seattle in Western Washington is a place called Woodinville. Here, you'll find award winning wineries with wines sourced from nearby vineyards and Washington Wine Country. This is where two of the best wineries in Washington, Novelty Hill Januik and Chateau Ste. Michelle can be found.

Chateau Ste. Michelle

I had never been to a French inspired winery before, and the beauty of the gardens and the European style was unlike anything I had seen before at an American winery.

Raquel Romans at Novelty Hill Januik

Image: FORTLOC

The winery is on a 105-acre estate with a French-inspired chateau that houses their classic tasting room, gift shop, and other facilities. They also offer outdoor concerts and other special events. Needless to say, I was delighted to step foot onto their gorgeous property.

My day at Chateau Ste. Michelle began with a stroll through the dappled light of the gardens, past the neatly clipped hedges that border the austere facade of the chateau, and through the vast shadows created by the monumental redwoods that overlook the distant vineyards. The beautifully landscaped picnic area was perfect for lounging and enjoying the scenic views.

Wine rack at Chateau Ste. Michelle

Image: FORTLOC

Here, I was able to discover the delights of the best wines of Washington Wine Country. The set of samples I was offered included a Columbia Valley Riesling I absolutely could not resist. With knowledgeable staff on hand to explain the storage, harvesting, and growing process, I came to quickly understand how much love goes into every bottle.

Novelty Hill Januik

Novelty Hill Januik winery

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The winery was founded in 2000 by Mike Januik, a Washington state renowned wine maker for over 30 years, and has two separate labels: Novelty Hill and Januik. The Novelty Hill label focuses on Bordeaux-style wines, while the Januik label specializes in artisanal, single vineyard wines. The winery focuses on sustainable and eco-friendly practices and even the property’s building and garden design reflect this modern approach. They are certified by the Washington State Department of Agriculture’s Sustainable Winegrowing Program.

My day started at their stunningly modern tasting room. I walked up to the main entrance and peered out across the open space and outdoor furniture. It was a perfect place for large groups and evening events. The staff in the tasting room were incredibly kind and helpful, and really a delight to interact with. They recommended I try their Januik label, which is their shining star, named after Mike Januik.

Novelty Hill Januik winery

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The 2020 Januik Sauvignon Blanc from Sagemoor vineyards was really lovely- light and citrusy with hints of tropical fruit. I purchased a couple of bottles along with their Quintessence Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon. The diversity of Washington vineyards sourced for their wines is really quite spectacular. I felt like I had been taken on a regional Washington vineyard tour right from their tasting room!

Would I recommend Woodinville?

For much of the year, the skies above Seattle are gray and wet, typical of the 47th line of latitude. It’s often cold, rainswept and generally pretty dreary, but every year, a small, oval-shaped miracle happens in the vineyards in Washington Wine Country. The same miracle that’s been happening in Burgundy for a thousand years.

Wine rack at Novelty Hill Januik

Image: FORTLOC

One of the world’s most perfect wine grapes come into fruition. Which is why any wine lover should not hesitate to visit Washington Wine Country or at least the quiet town of Woodinville. There, amongst the winding roads nestled in the leafy suburbs, in the vintage sustainable vineyards, are carefully curated bottles of wine waiting for your taste buds.


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