Food & Drink: Discovery


Food & Drink: Discovery

Best Undiscovered Food and Wine Destination

  • Food & Drink: Discovery

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    When it comes to promoting tourism, Seattle has always lazily left the heavy lifting to Mount Rainier, Puget Sound, and the Space Needle, smugly confident that wherever visitors and conventioneers go for fun in the daytime, they'll spend their nightsand the food and wine dollarsin the city. But an upstart is rising to challenge downtown's monopoly. Its name? Woodinville. Yes, WOODINVILLE. Columbia Winery to the southeast has long been one terminus of the popular Spirit of Washington dinner train, with concerts and other events at nearby Chateau Ste. Michelle Winery and Red Hook Brewery upping the ante. And don't forget that one of America's most celebrated destination restaurants, the Herb Farm, is right in the same neighborhood. But in recent years, so many small wineries have either newly settled or expanded their tasting rooms in the area that wine buffs can spend an entire day or more sipping their way round the Sammamish Slough, from Januik to DeLille, Baer to Silver Lake. Scenerywise, the area can't hold a candle to the Napa Valley, but some enterprising folks have an answer to that; a year or so down the line, the aforesaid Silver Lake Winery will pop the cork on a veritable wine-oriented theme park, with shops, tasting rooms, and a food court housed in rustic chalets sprinkled round the premises. Another year or so and a second multifunction wine facility is slated to open just down the road. The city elders of Woodinville were slow to realize what a hot little destination was taking shape just next door, but in the last year or so they've made up for lost time, first with their spring "Passport to Woodinville" promotion (one small fee buys you a tasting glass and admission to a score of tastings on the same weekend), now with a snappy brochure welcoming visitors to "Woodinville Wine Country." Along with contact information for 14 tasting rooms, the brochure lists 33 inviting places to stay, from Snoqualmie's ritzy Salish Lodge to the modest Day's Inn in Bellevue. More significant than who's on the list is who's not: Not one accommodation is in Seattle.Roger Downey Woodinville Wine Group: 425-424-2902. Washington Wine Commission:

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