Is the cooler, rainy June of the west side of the getting you down? Well, check the weather and think about heading east of the Cascades? An escape to Richland, WA and/or Red Mountain just might be the ticket. Wine tasting and summer activities near the Columbia River… a mix of Spring Break and a weekend in wine country. Set up a tour of a winery, and/or the vineyards, go on your own or with a group. This is a true within four hours reach trip as it is approximately 3-1/2 hours from the Seattle area via I-90, I-82 and I-182.
Richland, WA is part of the area known as Tri-Cities, which includes Kennewick and Pasco and the Red Mountain AVA in Benton City is just a few exits away. There is a variety of lodging options and activities for friends or for the whole family. Are you making it a two or three-day weekend? If you are making a three-day weekend, there are plenty of stops along the way, including Suncadia http://www.suncadiaresort.com/ and/or Prosser. Prosser Vintner’s Village is recommended, especially if you have not been before. http://prosservintnersvillage.com/
Looking for a bite to eat? Anthony’s at Columbia Point is an always popular option. How about a cheese plate at one of the wineries? The Fromage plate at Col Solare is a real pleaser. Figs and dried apricots accompany a nice selection of fine cheeses. JBistro is located at J. Bookwalter Winery and is a great stop for an afternoon bite with some nice vino. JBistro has a great full-service outdoor patio as well as indoor seating and a tasting bar. They were most accommodating as we were there for only a short time. Buy a bottle and I can recommend the flatbread (Prosciutto & Capicollo) and the Wagyu Wonton. Check out the other savory options at the JBistro link at http://www.bookwalterwines.com/.
A must stop is at Goose Ridge Estate Vineyard & Winery. It has a beautiful tasting room, landscaping and here’s your chance to play bocce ball too. http://gooseridge.com/ There is history built on this land as the 1400 acres (3800 total) were established under the direction of Dr. Walter Clore and was part of the largest single planting of true vinifera grapes in the state of Washington.
Fidelitas http://www.fidelitaswines.com/ An inviting tasting room with an industrial feel. A worthy display of wine, info, and Fidelitas history, with winemaker/owner Charlie Hoppes making some of the best wines in the State. Take a seat on the outdoor patio or inside on the barrel wood chairs (and don’t forget to check out the beautiful wood/glass table).
Col Solare http://www.colsolare.com/ is a destination. We were fortunate enough to get a tour and what an afternoon, the things you’ll see. The architecture is a mix of Tuscan villa and Northwest. Try a cicchetti (small plate) on the deck overlooking the vineyard. See above for a suggestion. Taste. See. Enjoy, but make sure to call ahead to see if they are open to the public that day or to make a reservation for a tour of the facility.
Road Trips Rule!