Award-winning, intriguing wines, a short stroll from the ferry
written by Shirley A. Hancock
Let’s face it, a lot of wine tasting has occurred over the past twelve months, but from our couches, eyes glued to Netflix. Expand your view and your wine experience via a quick ferry ride to Bainbridge Island and Washington’s only grape growing region west of the Cascades, the Puget Sound AVA.
First, the thirty-five-minute ferry ride from Seattle’s Colman Dock, is one big exhale from stress: briny sea air and a panorama of the region’s most celebrated icons: the Space Needle, two volcanoes, Puget Sound, and perhaps some orcas, eagles and seals.
Bainbridge Island is the size of Manhattan but with forested hills, winding roads, gardens, parks, unspoiled public beaches, and seven award-winning wineries. Some source grapes from the Eastern Washington and two grow their own grapes. The temperate maritime climate of the Puget Sound produces small harvests of rare, elegant varietals found in southern Germany, Hungary, Austria and northern France.
You won’t find big, fussy wineries here. Each focuses on crafting an experience that is intimate, accessible, friendly and fun. Ask for the owner, who is most likely the winemaker and will give you a personal tour of the winery while describing what it’s like to handcraft each vintage.
The wineries are all within 10 miles of each other, with welcoming outdoor seating, fireplaces and heaters. Step off the ferry and in five minutes you’re sipping a glass of pinot overlooking Eagle Harbor among cafes, restaurants and museums. Pick a bottle at a winery, take out lunch from the historic T and C Market or the Hitchcock Deli and Market, and savor it at Fay Bainbridge Park or Waterfront Park.
Don’t forget to bring a bottle home. Your next Netflix wine tasting will be oh so much better.