Wintertime Wanderings in Washington’s Cascade Valley Wine Country
News and story ideas from the wineries and tastings rooms of Lake Chelan, Leavenworth and Wenatchee
Winter Retreats and Cozy Lodges
Cascade Valley Wine Country enjoys four distinct seasons. This means from December to February, guests will often find plenty of that slippery white stuff. Sledding, skiing, sleigh rides and snowman creation requires a cozy lodge for post-adventure retreat. A variety of options abound from wineries to mountain lodges.
• Leavenworth’s Silvara Vineyards sits on a five-acre estate boasting a magnificent tasting room with towering scissor-truss roof frame, broad windows, and stone fireplaces that warm the front great-room.
• In Wenatchee, Chateau Faire Le Pont Winery serves up live jazz music, belly-warming, locally sourced comfort food and award-winning, big reds among leather couches, rustic décor and a cozy fireplace.
• Situated conveniently among countless wineries and tasting rooms, Lake Chelan Lookout is a new lakeside community with a variety of rental homes. Most offer fireplaces and all provide the well-appointed comforts of home in addition to a community area with fire pit, hot tub and more.
• Park the car for the weekend and enjoy gourmet cuisine, lodge-inspired accommodations and all the winter fun one could imagine with a stay at Mountain Home Lodge in Leavenworth.
Fresh from the Press: New Tasting Rooms and Releases
Cascade Valley Wine Country continues to grow with new varieties and tasting rooms to explore. In Leavenworth, Plain Cellars becomes the 18th tasting room to open up shop downtown. Lake Chelan’s south shore welcomes neighboring tasting rooms: Siren’s Song Wines offers tastings, wines by the glass and wood-fired pizza set in a stunning Mediterranean-style villa overlooking Lake Chelan while next door, Fielding Hills is open festival weekends in the winter months and provides similar views and award-winning wines in a contemporary Northwest setting.
Winter evenings often call for a glass of wine by the fire. Cascade Valley’s producers provide a variety of season appropriate sips including Baroness Cellars Triple Crown Port or the Malaga Springs Winery 2011 Reserve Zinfandel. Other wineries such as Cairdeas Winery, Legend Cellars and Baroness Cellars, are finding that under the radar varietals like Mourvèdre, Counoise, Cinsault Nebbiolo, and Dolcetta and even Vermouth play nicely on a wine list with more familiar Washington grapes like Cabernet Sauvignon or Syrah.
Winter in Wine Country: Holiday Lights, Tastings and Celebrations
Mark the calendar for a winter getaway and toast the season with a glass of Washington bubbly. You’ll find winemakers, locals and visitors alike at these wine country celebrations.
• The Christmas Lighting Festival in Leavenworth takes place the first three full weekends in December. Weekends are filled to the brim with holiday cheer and over half a million Christmas lights. Tasting rooms are open late and many offer hot spiced Gluehwein.
• Festivities in Lake Chelan begin with the Fall Barrel Tasting the weekend of November 27-29 where guests can sample warming reds and a sample of sips to come in 2016. Later in the season, Winterfest beckons with fireworks, wine walks and more on the second and third weekends of January 2016.
• Plan ahead for Red Wine & Chocolate festivities the second and third weekends of February 2016, when Leavenworth, Wenatchee and Lake Chelan wineries present big reds with chocolate delights.
• Grab a New Year’s Eve date and watch the Apple Drop at Pybus Market on December 31. Make sure to take home a bottle of Cascade Valley Wine Country bubbly from Karma Vineyards.
Retreat, Relax, Recreate, Repeat
Known as Washington’s playground, Chelan County’s mountains, rivers and lakes provide year-round entertainment. Pair wine tasting with outdoor adventure for the proper balance of relaxation and recreation.
• In Leavenworth trek the Blackbird Island Trail along the Icicle River before heading into town for a liquid reward. Plan accordingly or stay a week to sample from the 18 downtown tasting rooms. Just outside of town, Icicle Ridge Winery hosts sip and snowshoe vineyard adventures in January, complete with guided tour, snowshoes, spiced wine on the trail & log home fireside dinner. The area also offers Nordic and downhill skiing, tubing and snowshoeing, the Leavenworth Winter Sports Club offers details and current conditions.
• Spend a day on the slopes at Mission Ridge Ski and Board Resort and then head into town for après sipping at a variety of downtown tasting rooms including the Chamber Tasting Room with 5 local wines on tap, Stemilt Creek Winery and Jones of Washington at Pybus Market. Stay and play packages pair regional lodging with passes to Mission Ridge in addition to nearby Steven’s Pass.
• Echo Ridge Trail in Lake Chelan meanders three miles throughout the cascades, ideal for Nordic skiing or snowshoeing. Visit January 17 or 23 for Snowga, a thrilling yet calming combination of snowshoeing and yoga, at Echo Ridge, courtesy of Lake Chelan Yoga.
For more visitor information and a calendar of tasting events visit www.cascadevalleywinecountry.com or connect at @CVWCWines or facebook.com/cvwc.wines.