Category Archives: Washington

Waterfalls & Wine 2015

Our 2015 Waterfalls & Wine tour in the great Pacific Northwest was a tremendous success.

Heading out from Seattle, we went to see our first waterfall.  Snoqualmie Falls did not disappoint with an amazing double rainbow – this was truly a sign of all the good times to come.

Snoqualmie Falls - double rainbow

Snoqualmie Falls – double rainbow

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a great start to the tour

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Even at the falls, there is an opportunity to taste wine.

Our next stop was in Yakima at Gilbert Cellars – Hackett Ranch.  The hospitality was warm and welcoming, the wines were tasty and the scenery was outstanding.

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Happy folks in the lavender

Gilbert Cellars

The ladies are mesmerized

After a delicious catered lunch at the Hackett Ranch, we departed for Walla Walla, the town so nice they named it twice.  The group checked in a the historic Marcus Whitman Hotel.  This was our home for 2 nights while we explored the nearby wineries.

Day 2 began at L’Ecole – where the wine was very nice, but I think everyone agreed that our second stop of the day at Northstar was truly a hit.

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Wine tasting and lunch on the patio at Northstar

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After lunch we head to the vines to hear about Washington wines

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and then on to the wine blending class where everyone made their own red wine blend from 4 different barrels of Merlot, 1 Cabernet Sauvignon and 1 petite verdot

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the blend is starting to take shape

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the group shows off their personally crafted wines

After eating lunch and crafting our own red wine blends there was still another winery stop to make.  At Long Shadows we experienced a custom tasting and tour that included barrel sampling.

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keep it coming!

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the sadness and shock of seeing an empty fermentation tank

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Keep your wine thief handy, we’re having a barrel tasting

On day 3 everyone packed up for our journey to the waterfalls along the Columbia River Valley…but of course we stopped at a winery along the way.  Columbia Crest in Horse Heaven Hills.

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Our server at Columbia Crest for the reserve tasting was charming, engaging and a true delight. Look at all the happy faces

After a brewpub lunch stop we travelled along the Columbia River Gorge, with brief stops at 5 waterfalls.

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Amazing view of the Columbia River

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Evening of day 3 found us just outside of the Willamette valley.  For dinner we took over our hotel lobby, ordered pizzas and everyone brought a bottle of wine to share.  Day 4 began in the picturesque Dundee Hills.  Our first stop was Archery Summit.

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Our tour of Archery Summit had frequent stops to taste wine.

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Pretty bottles all in a row

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Just one of many vineyard views in Dundee Hills

The group loved Archery Summit and did not want to leave…except it was time for lunch.  So off we went to our tasting, tour and catered meal on the patio at Domaine Serene.

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side by side comparisons

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our tour at Domaine Serene begins

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After Domaine Serene, we had a special musical interlude

and then on to our next stop – Durant Vineyards

 

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the dancing continues

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outstanding views from Durant vineyards

Our final wine tasting in Willamette Valley was at Soter Vineyards

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artsy photo of Soter glass

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the gang continues to have fun

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is it time to dance again?

36-waterfallsandwine-035 At Soter even old friendships were made new again!

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A sincere thank you to everyone that joined us on the 2015 Waterfalls & Wine tour.  We look forward to our next journey together.

Seattle – Cruise Gateway to Alaska & Our Waterfalls & Wine Tour

Seattle, Washington is a very popular cruise port, especially for round-trip inside passage cruises to Alaska.  Seattle is also the launching point for our 2015 Waterfalls & Wine Tour.

Seattle is the largest city in the Pacific Northwest and sits at one of the most unique spots in the United States. A narrow isthmus sandwiched between the Puget Sound & The Olympic Mountains on its west, and Lake Washington & the Cascades to its east.

Port of Seattle as seen from deck of cruise ship

Port of Seattle as seen from deck of cruise ship

As a visitor, you should explore Seattle at your own pace. You may opt to visit sites such as the iconic Space Needle with its wonderful 360 degree view of the city, waters and mountains surrounding it. Close by is the Chihuly Garden & Glass with its stunning sculptures in the glass house.Pike Market Seattle 320x240

Seattle has world-class museums such as the Pacific Science Center and the EMP (Experience Music Project) Museum celebrating Seattle’s vibrant music scene and contributions to pop culture. While in Seattle, why not stop by the original Starbucks Coffee Shop located in the bustling Pike Place Market?

Post Alley

Enjoy the sights, sounds and smells as you nibble your way down to Post Alley or the Seattle Great Wheel. There are plenty of things to do in Seattle, but don’t stay out too late on Friday night June 19, as you need to hop on our luxury tour bus on Saturday morning where you will join up with some of our clients returning from an Alaskan Cruise.  From there you will head out for Waterfalls and Wine.

Wine & Waterfalls – sneak peak!

On our 2015 Wines & Waterfalls Tour – Sunday, June is the day of our Walla Walla, Washington wine exploration. We have personally selected 3 amazing wineries for you to visit. Our first stop is the family owned artisan winery – L’Ecole.  lecole 5 (3)

L’Ecole is located in a historic 1915 schoolhouse, which is the cornerstone of the brand as it is the centerpiece of their wine labels.lecole 5 (1)

L’Ecole grows and makes 100% of their terroir-driven, distinctive wines. L’Ecole has been honored by Wine & Spirits Magazine for 12 consecutive years as Winery of the Year. Decanter magazine named the 2011 L’Ecole Ferguson as the best Bordeaux blend in the world. Not just the best in Washington or in the US, but the best in the world!  Unfortunately the 2011 Ferguson is sold out now, but there will still be plenty of amazing wines to taste during our visit.

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Agency Exclusive Waterfalls & Wine Tour

We are very pleased to announce that we are now accepting deposits for our June 2015 Waterfalls & Wine tour!  Perfectly timed to coincide with our Alaska Inside Passage Cruise group, this is an agency exclusive tour – not available anywhere else.

winery oregon (2)Whether you are a wine novice or connoisseur, prepare yourself for an amazing time as we explore the wines and natural beauty of the Pacific Northwest.  Our group tour embarks from Seattle, Washington on a wines and waterfall focused journey through Washington State and into Oregon, ending in Portland.  Along the way you will view some of the areas most amazing waterfalls and sip wine at award-winning wineries.   Taste the big Merlots of Walla Walla Valley, the supple Chardonnays of Horse Heaven Hills, and the sleek sexy Pinot Noirs of Willamette Valley.  You will even create your own red wine blend to take home.  The waterfalls are not only amazing to view, they are extremely accessible.  You won’t be taking long hikes to see them, as you need to save your energy for sipping wine!   For all the details and pricing information – please visit our web page.

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Snoqualmie Falls

2015 Waterfalls & Wine Tour

Waterfalls & Wine

Our research is almost complete! In June 2015 we will be hosting a very special Waterfalls & Wine tour in the Pacific Northwest. From the supple Pinot Noirs of Oregon’s Willamette Valley to the Powerful Merlots of Walla Walla Washington, we will cover the wonderful world of Pacific Northwest Wines. Our wine country travels take us along the Columbia River Valley where we will view amazing displays of easily accessible waterfalls. You do the packing and leave the rest to us.

While we are firming up plans with wineries and hotels – mark your calendars – full details are coming soon!

Washington Grapes, Mountains & Waterfalls

Washington AVAs

Washington state ranks second in the US in wine production, behind only California.  Washington has twelve federally defined American Viticultural Areas (AVA) with all but one in Eastern Washington. The largest AVA is the Columbia Valley AVA, which extends into a bit of northern Oregon and encompasses most of the other Washington AVAs. These include Walla Walla , Horse Heaven Hills, Wahluke Slope, Lake Chelan, Naches Heights, and Yakima Valley, which in turn also encompasses Rattlesnake Hills, Snipes Mountain and Red Mountain.   In our short trip to the area, we traveled through the majority of these locations!

Horse Heaven Hills

Grapes were first planted in Walla Walla by Italian immigrants a very long time ago – it was in the 1950s and 1960s, the precursors of the state’s biggest wineries (Chateau Ste Michelle and Columbia Winery) began.  While many grape varietals thrive throughout Washington, the dominant ones are Rieslings, Chardonnay, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah.  In our opinion the big boy is the Merlot with bright intense flavor and lush texture.  It is said that in California, Merlot is added to Cabernet Sauvignon to soften it, but in Washington, Cabernet Sauvignon is added to help soften the Merlot.

 

Besides the wine, the state has gorgeous scenery.  Check out our videos at Snoqualmie Falls and Mount Ranier below.