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8 Washington wineries you need to check out

Washington is a wine connoisseur's paradise. Tripling in number over the past decade, our state’s wineries have swiftly developed a reputation for their bold and robust reds and fantastic Rieslings.

Happily, many of these gems are located conveniently close to Seattle. In fact, if you start in Seattle and drive a Honda Accord, you can get to all of the wineries listed below AND back on a single tank of gas.

1. Chateau Ste. Michelle: 30 miles

Washington’s largest winery feels more like a French-style Disney mansion than a vineyard. About 40 miles outside of Seattle, in Woodinville, Washington sits Chateau Ste. Michelle. It's celebrating 50 years, so this summer is a fantastic time to visit. From golf tournaments to a summer concert series and a Limited Edition 50th Anniversary Cabernet Sauvignon, Washington’s founding winery will have plenty to do all summer long. Jump in your Honda Accord with your best friend and take a drive to check it out.

2. Col Solare: 210 miles

Col Solare is another winery not to be missed. Situated on the top of Red Mountain with a Wild West view, you’ll find an ultra-modern twist to this winery. Don’t miss Summer Sole held on the third Saturday of every month through September, a wine and food pairing event with music and a sunset with views of the vineyard. If you miss the event, don’t worry – you can schedule a tour every Sunday.

3. Cave B Estate Winery: 149 miles

In the epicenter of Washington State Wine Country sits Cave B Estate Winery. A few hours outside of Seattle in the Ancient Lakes of Columbia Valley, Cave B is an award-winning boutique winery nestled 900 feet above the Columbia River.

Because of its unique cliffside location, it has many varietals. Besides the breathtaking location, what makes this winery special is winemaker Alfredo “Freddy” Arrendondo: a chef who loves pairing his wines with fantastic food. Cave B has an ongoing symphony orchestra concert series in its gorgeous amphitheater throughout the summer, so plan your trip around the music if you want to treat your ears as well as your palate.

4. Nefarious Cellars: 176 miles

Named one of the best Washington wineries to visit by Food & Wine Magazine, Nefarious Cellars in Lake Chelan is a four-hour day trip from Seattle.

Although it has been around since only 2006, it has already won many recognitions and awards. Nefarious Cellars is located on rolling hills, which makes it a classic romantic vineyard. The vineyard isn't the only romantic thing about this winery. As a couple, Dean Neff makes the reds and Heather Neff, makes the whites, and when you do a tasting, you’ll likely meet them both. Don’t forget to say hello to Lucy, the canine part of the crew, on your way to overlook the lake.

5. Northstar Winery: 262 miles

Known for its world-class Merlot, Northstar Winery is about four hours inland from Seattle in Walla Walla, Washington. It has garnered attention for the taste of its wines, and its 90-minute blending workshops are one-of-a-kind in the Washington area. Guests are guided through a tasting with professional wine-making equipment to compose their own blend with a custom label to take home.

6. L’Ecole No. 41: 248 miles

Near Northstar Winery is L’Ecole No. 41 (French for “the school”), a 19th-century Frenchtown schoolhouse full of remnants (there is even a library) from its classroom days. Coming to this winery is like taking a walk through the past, with paintings and photographs still up from the winery’s early days.

7. Gramercy Cellars: 260 miles

The cozy tasting room at Gramercy Cellars in Walla Walla is made for world-class wine lovers. Founded by a Master Sommelier, Greg Harrington blended his love for New York and wine into a quaint tasting room (although there is nothing small about the blends that come out of this winery). Wine & Spirits Magazine named Gramercy one of the top 100 wineries in the world for four consecutive years, and it focuses on Rhône and Bordeaux based wines.

8. Long Shadows: 254 miles

Long Shadows is known to wine aficionados as one of Washington’s best-kept secrets. Located in Walla Walla, the idea of starting this winery was simple: collect the finest winemakers from around the world, give them the best grapes and begin a winery with robust flavors. Long Shadows has an award-winning collection of seven premium Columbia Valley wines. There are also plenty of events happening this summer to plan your trip around. Whether a social event, picnic or white party sounds like the perfect meet-up, there are options here for every taste.

With so many wonderful wineries within a few hours of Seattle, a scenic day trip to visit one – or two – is definitely in order! In a Honda Accord, so many wineries and other fun destinations are less than one tank away.

Enter the One Tank Trips Sweepstakes for a chance to win a 3-year lease on a 2017 Honda Accord or other prizes like tickets to the Mariners’ game and Bumbershoot. Learn more and enter here.

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