On the drive from Seattle to Walla Walla, a historic schoolhouse occupied by renowned winery L’Ecole No 41 alerts us to our arrival in Walla Walla Wine Country. Unfortunately, after the hours long drive, the tasting room is usually about to close by the time we see it. We won’t have to worry about that on our next visit to Walla Walla, however. L’Ecole No 41 recently announced a spring opening for the “Heritage by L’Ecole” Wine Bar in Walla Walla’s historic Marcus Whitman Hotel.
Located in the heart of downtown Walla Walla, Washington the landmark hotel is a convenient destination during a visit to the must-see wine region.
“We’re so enthusiastic about the possibility to welcome Walla Walla locals and visitors to our valley, in a new and unique setting,” said L’Ecole’s owner and managing winemaker Marty Clubb. “Heritage by L’Ecole illustrates our family’s commitment to the Walla Walla experience for all wine lovers. The opportunity to ask our talented daughter, Rebecca Clubb-Olson, to design the space for us was exciting and rewarding, and she has done a beautiful job – striking a perfect balance, incorporating elements of our historic Schoolhouse and of our deep, enduring roots in our home Valley.”
With outdoor seating planned for the spring and summer, the space will eventually accommodate up to 19 seated guests indoors, with self-guided flight options. Wine lovers are sure to be excited to learn that small production and library lots will be available along with current releases.
It sounds like a lot of people are planning to spend Black Friday at home in pajamas this year. Well, then, I say we start a movement and #optforwine! To that end, here is your guide on how to safely and effortlessly shop for wine and gifts around Seattle this holiday season.
One of the silver linings of the current pandemic guidelines is that some wineries offer to deliver wine locally. In some cases my wine was even delivered by the winemaker! First, check the winery’s website or social media channels to ensure delivery is available. Some wineries have a dollar or quantity threshold before delivery is available. Typically, wineries request that the option for “pick up” be checked while placing an order online along with a note requesting delivery in the comments section. Then they text or email delivery information.
The tasting room is based in Pioneer Square (former home of The Estates Wine Room). At this time, orders of $75 or more may be delivered in Seattle but I’m not sure how long the offer stands. My order was delivered the next day.
BONUS: tack on an order of pastry squares to your order for $12.
For the next couple of weeks, local delivery is available within 25 miles of the Woodinville winery with a $150 minimum purchase. Shop online and select “Pick-Up” at check-out. Then make a note you’d like your wines hand delivered and they will text or email to coordinate.
Pro tip: be sure to buy some Boushey Vineyard Grenache!
Is there a better way to explore the difference a year makes than by exploring one wine from several vintages? It’s certainly the best way I know how while we’re at home!
Would you like to add some Quilceda Creek or Leonetti library wines to your collection AND support a good cause at the same time? Check out the Auction of Washington Wines Bid for Bottles through December 3rd. Winning bids & donations support the wine industry directly through Washington State University’s wine science research – securing the future of the Washington wine industry. This virtual event also supports Seattle Children’s Hospital. So go on, bid on one of a kind wines from the Private Barrel Auction, magnums, verticals, and more from some of Washington State’s most celebrated producers.
This leading winery in Washington State has really stepped up its offerings this year. Among them, a self-guided tasting will be available for pickup from the tasting room. Include it in a minimum order of $150 for complimentary delivery in King County.
Dusted Valley Tasting Kits
Experience a winemaker-guided tasting from the comfort of your own home.
The Office Holiday Party Kit includes a Cheese & Charcuterie Platter featuring a multitude of Seattle Made and Seattle Good Business Network member products, and of course, a bottle of Seattle Made Red produced and bottled by Elsom Cellars!
Many wineries and local wine shops offer gift cards. Do you know a frontline worker who might appreciate the chance to order wine of their own choosing? Support a local business, celebrate a real life hero, and get all the feels! Effortless online gift card purchase are available from the following establishments.
Curbside pickup and online ordering are standard offerings at most Seattle area wineries. Some continue to offer tasting but under the current restrictions do so outdoors. If you’re comfortable with that, try to make an appointment ahead of time since seating is usually limited. Also, remember to dress accordingly.
Washington wineries outside the Seattle area such as Chelan based Cairdeas offer shipping included with online purchases. Plus, it arrives in Seattle the next day! We ordered a case of their Diffraction Red which is now our “house wine.”
In the interest of full disclosure, some VinoSocial clients are mentioned here. However, this is not a sponsored post, and I do not receive payment if you purchase from them. I also paid for all the wine I received via delivery.
Even though businesses are gradually reopening here on the West Coast following the stay at home order you may be reluctant to venture out. The good news is, you don’t have to. Here are some of the top ways to enjoy wine at home. Although the list predominantly highlights Seattle based businesses, keep in mind that with today’s virtual world, many have a broader reach.
Auction of Washington Wines Virtual Wine Tasting Series
Be sure to take advantage of this series of 7 virtual wine experiences featuring a who’s who of Washington wine luminaries. Karen MacNeil, author of best-selling book, The Wine Bible (and one of my favorite wine pros!) hosts. There is no charge to register. Plus, wines may be pre-purchased via VinoSocial client Esquin for those who wish to taste along. Register now!
Avennia Tasting Kits
This is a delightful new offering from world class winery and VinoSocial client Avennia. Based in Woodinville, Washington, three different wine tasting kits are currently available. Each kit serves at least two people and contains 5 different Avennia wines in 5 oz. bottles. No contact pickup is an option. Alternatively, delivery in King County is included when purchased with along with 3 standard bottles. Purchase tasting kits now!
Belle & Bottle Wine Club
Bring wine to your doorstep via Belle & Bottle, recently named one of the best wine clubs in the country by Food & Wine. Owner Laura Huston recommends starting with the “30 Club” explaining, “I try to use a Washington wine and another wine, and keep mostly to small producers, most family owned. Monthly and at the $25-$35 price per bottle it lets you try wines and then order more if you like them.” Alternate options range from a “Bubbles Club” to a “Premium Club”. Shipping is available to most states. Sign up now!
The best way to avoid touching your face? Hoist an Aperol Spritz in one hand and a good book in the other. I kid! Kind of. Anyway, reading about wine is one way to enjoy it. Order a book fresh off the presses such as Washington Wine and Food by Julien Perry. Or make a special request. By the way, they offer free US Media Mail Shipping through the end of June. Shop Book Larder.
Cellar Muse, owned and operated by esteemed wine instructor Tanya Morningstar Darling, offers wine education online. With a myriad of certifications, her knowledge runs deep and subject matter is varied. Taking classes with Tanya stokes the fire that fuels a lifelong interest in learning about wine. Check the Cellar Muse Schedule.
Want to send a show of support to a friend during this strange time? With the tagline, “There’s a wine for that,” Chipmonkey offers highly customized wine gifts for EVERY occasion. Your BFF had to postpone her wedding? There’s a wine for that. Shop from the comfort of home.
It’s never been easier to shop at Pike Place Market, and this gourmet specialty shop offers online ordering – which includes wine! We took advantage of the no-contact pickup, but as of this writing there is also a same day delivery option in Seattle. Plus they ship across the country. Order from DeLaurenti
Even if you’re not ready to head out to wine country yet, time can be well spent researching that next dream vacation. The beautiful Destination Wineries site created by Stacee Edwards is a terrific resource. Find wine travel inspiration.
One of the best ways to enjoy wine at home is with dinner! When restaurants were required to suddenly shutter, many switched things up and began to provide takeout. Adult beverages are now often part of that offering – and wine is typically offered at a retail price. So, include a bottle with your next to go order – bonus points for choosing a selection from a local winery!
Pro tip: the best deal we’ve come across so far is the $15 a bottle offering from Ethan Stowell Restaurants. Selections rotate, but our favorite is the Frank the Tank red Bordeaux style blend crafted by talented Avennia winemaker Chris Peterson.
Virtual Wine Events
Virtual wine events abound! Options range from happy hours to educational experiences, often include winemakers, and cover a range of topics. Moreover, this presents an opportunity to taste with others across the country and the world. Out of a desire to easily find more engaging wine activities, wine pro and blogger Amber LeBeau created the Virtual Wine Events website. It’s free to use, so head on over and browse the options! Find a virtual wine event.
Cheers to the many ways to enjoy wine at home!
Please note that although some VinoSocial clients are mentioned, this is not a sponsored post.
Although it is my regular practice to spread the word about notable wines and wineries, I don’t normally write about clients. However, these are far from normal times. Not to mention, I have been a fan of Avennia since the release of their inaugural vintage in 2012. Working with them for nearly two years in order to help wine lovers connect with the brand has just been icing on the cake. I consider myself extremely fortunate to assist such a celebrated winery and a team of generous and talented people. Through our partnership it’s become clear that there’s a lot to admire about the winery in addition to first-rate winemaking. Here’s an insider’s update on what’s happening at leading Washington winery Avennia lately, along with an exploration of some of their wines I’ve recently opened and the foods paired with them.
Founded by Marty Taucher and Chris Peterson, Avennia is based in Woodinville, Washington about 20 miles outside of Seattle. The two met while working harvest at DeLille Cellars in 2009. When Chris reviewed Marty’s business plan for a winery, an innocent inquiry as to who was going to make the wine led to a partnership. By the 2010 harvest, the two were working Avennia’s first crush. Since then, Avennia has amassed top accolades and earned some of the highest scores in Washington State for their world class wines. Marty manages the business side of the winery while Chris oversees the cellar.
At the first signs of the pandemic, my company was impacted significantly. As business plummeted, so did my spirit. I remember speaking with Marty on the phone right when everything started going in a tailspin. Thankfully, the first thing he did was offer reassurance, “Don’t worry, Nancy, we’ll get through this.”
Some things never change. Spring eventually comes, a rebirth takes place in gardens and vineyards, and the latest rosés are released for consumption. Last year my beverage of choice for sipping on the deck in the days of sunshine and warmth was the beautiful Devison Vintners Rosé. My latest order of the wine from Walla Walla winery Devison Vintners recently arrived on our Seattle doorstep. Clearly, spring is here!
A new vintage of blushing wine is a reminder that there are still exciting things happening. For Peter and Kelsey Devison, it means the launch of their brand, Devison Vintners, along with highly anticipated newly released wines. Coincidentally, the couple also have a baby on the way! So, let’s hold onto a sense of optimism, talk about the winemaking, and dive into a couple of their fantastic new bottles with eager anticipation.