Northwest Wine Country Is About Taking It Slow, Enjoying Community

Sep 15, 2016

Seattle is within easy driving distance (less than five hours) of some serious wine country, whether it’s in eastern or central Washington, Oregon’s Willamette Valley, or parts of British Columbia.

There are hundreds of options to suit hundreds of tastes. There’s no way any list we’d assemble would be thorough enough to cover the whole region. So instead of asking knkx travel expert Matthew Brumley where we should enjoy our region’s wine country, we asked him how we should enjoy wine country.

Here’s his advice:

Drive There, Then Park It

We mean this in one of two ways. First, take your time. More on that later. Secondly, and this is important: Park your car, at least while you’re drinking. Look for buses, tours and even ride-sharing or taxi services to get around at the destination city.

Respect The Vineyard

Vineyards are busy this time of year as workers bring in the grape harvest. Be respectful of workers’ time and space.

Also, some tastings are free, but the hope, of course, is that you’ll buy some wine after you’ve had a few tastes. You don’t have to buy stuff you don’t want, of course, but be ready to make a purchase.

Do Some Research

Brumley suggests consulting an expert; go to a local wine store and ask for places with good, established wines, and also some up-and-comers, and plan to head there.

There’s also the internet for research, but we think you’ll have more fun if you talk to a human on this one.

Just Go

You don’t really have to book this far in advance. This can be a nice semi-spontaneous getaway. The only concern, Brumley says, is whether there’s lodging available, especially if you’re looking for something cozy and charming.

Enjoy Community

This is not going to be fun if you’re too busy trying to get from one vineyard to another. Pick a good place and then linger.

“It’s about conversation and taking it slow and enjoying the environment and the beauty and the history of wine,” Brumley said. “You don’t want to rush from winery to winery. You want to take your time.”

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"Going Places" is 88.5's weekly exploration of travel. Matthew Brumley is the co-founder of Earthbound Expeditions, which provides small-group travel for clients including knkx.