My Favorite Bargain White Wine in the History of the World

Many highlights of being in Tacoma for Thanksgiving but one was undoubtedly being reunited with a long time Hall of Fame white wine: Domaine des Cassagnoles Cuvée Gros Manseng. This is the top white wine, pound for pound, dollar for dollar you’ll find. I haven’t seen it in New York but it has kind of a cult following in Seattle. (Which I will take some credit for from my days as a buyer.)

Domaine des Cassagnoles 2016 Cuvée Gros Manseng Reserve Selection (Côtes de Gascogne) $13

If you’re looking for bargain white wine, head to Southwest France. Particularly, the Côtes de Gascgone region, the home turf of DdC. The winery makes a blend even LESS EXPENSIVE than the Gros Manseng (which is the grape, BTW). If you see CdG on a label, just buy that dang white wine.

So this bottle has so much easy-drinking flavor and actual texture. It’s not too searingly acidic like a lot of cheap white wines. I’d call it medium-bodied, which is remarkable for a “simple” wine. It’s not perfume-y like a Viognier or Torrontes, but is aromatically enticing. The Gros Manseng checks off so many boxes for a wine of this price. (BTW, got the price from Wine-Searcher.)

If you’re having trouble finding it, the importer is Weygandt-Metzler. So when you go to your local wine shop, let them know this is the company responsible for bringing this amazing bottle to our fair shores.

I also wrote about the Gros Manseng back in 2010. A very short, to-the-point post.

Also, if you missed the natty wine kerfuffle that recently set the insular indie wine world ablaze,  read about it (along with my thoughts) in my newsletter.

The post My Favorite Bargain White Wine in the History of the World appeared first on Jameson Fink.

Vinoptima: Too Much of a Good Thing

There's no doubt that wine is romantic, and that this romance inspires and motivates consumers and producers alike, especially in the new world, where wine as a profession and wine as a beverage are adopted, rather than hereditary. The popular discourse of wine remains so littered with near-mythical stories of people following their passions to create great wines and great wineries, that we all too easily forget that basic principles of economics always apply. No amount of passion can compensate for wine that consumers just don't want to buy, or that a winery owner can't figure out how to sell (as they are different but often related problems).

All of that, by way of introduction to a winery named Vinoptima, in the out-of-the-way wine growing region of Gisborne, on New Zealand's North Island. Started by wine industry veteran Nick Nobilo in 2000, Vinoptima may be one of the world's most unique wineries, given its dedication to a single grape variety. Now, there are wineries around the world who make only Cabernet. Some who make only Riesling. But as far as I know, Vinoptima is the only winery dedicated solely to Gewürztraminer.

Vinoptima: Too Much of a Good Thing

Nobilo, you see, has something of an obsession with the grape, which began as far back as 1972, when he planted the very first vines of the variety in New Zealand. After working with it for three decades (and falling deeper in love with it in every passing vintage) Nobilo established Vinoptima in 2000 with the planting of a block of Gewürtztraminer in Gisborne, which he harvested in 2003 for the winery's first vintage.

Gewürtztraminer is a grape made famous in the Alsace region in France, which has somewhere around one third of the roughly 20,000 acres that are planted around the world. The grape is of ancient origin, and is actually one of three primary variants of Savagnin, which is a genetic parent to many, many modern grape varieties, not least of which are Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc (and therefore Cabernet Sauvignon), Trousseau, Grüner Veltliner and Verdelho, among others.

Vinoptima: Too Much of a Good Thing

The other main regions producing Gewürtztraminer (also known in places as Tramin, Traminer, or Savagnin Rose) include the United States, Italy, Germany, Australia, and Hungary. It is one of the most distinctively aromatic grape varieties on the planet, with an unmistakable, often heady perfume of lychees, rose petals, and orange blossom water. The grape also has a natural bitterness, and is therefore often made with a bit of residual sugar to offset this bite. Made well, which in my book usually involves maintaining the often elusive acidity it may possess, Gewürtztraminer can be mind-bendingly aromatic and incredibly complex. The best dessert-style wines made with the grape (n.b. Domaine Weinbach in Alsace) are ambrosia-like and otherworldly.

At Vinoptima, Nobilo farms about 20 acres of the grape in the township of Ormond just north of Gisborne, and produces several styles of Gewürtztraminer, from off-dry to a deeply sweet botrytized version, in his immaculate winery that he says is "custom designed from scratch to be run by just two men." His modest goal? "To make the world's best Gewürztraminer."

Vinoptima: Too Much of a Good Thing

I'm not sure he would ever be able to reach the heights to which the grape has been elevated in Alsace over the centuries, but the wines have consistently won awards and received scores in the 90-point range from critics (my own tasting notes on a number of vintages follow below.)

But there's just one problem.

Vinoptima: Too Much of a Good Thing

"No one wants to buy Gewürztraminer," said Nobilo, when I visited him in 2017. "Not even the people who used to drink it all the time," he continued.

When I met with him, the congenial, ruddy-cheeked and white-haired Nobilo struck me as a man who had done reasonably well for himself after five decades in the wine industry. I privately speculated that his was a passion project that could potentially weather the lack of demand for some time.

Vinoptima: Too Much of a Good Thing

But one unavoidable truth of the wine industry is that unsold wine gradually becomes a serious problem. And so it seems to have become for Vinoptima. I read with some sadness this week that with 100,000 liters of unsold wines in vats (roughly two vintages worth), Vinoptima has gone into receivership, which is what passes for bankruptcy in New Zealand.

It's a sad ending for a project begun and maintained with such singular passion, and a cautionary tale for those who believe that merely making excellent wine is the key to success in the wine industry.

Vinoptima: Too Much of a Good Thing

Here are my notes on several of Nobilo's vintages.

2004 Vinoptima Gewürtztraminer, Gisborne, New Zealand
Light yellow gold in color, this wine smells of orange blossom and lychee and honey. In the mouth, lightly sweet flavors of orange peel, lychee, and honey have a slightly spicy aspect, coating the palate and lingering with butterscotch notes in the finish. Has 20 grams per liter of residual sugar but finishes fairly dry. Moderate acidity. 14.5% alcohol. Score: around 9. click to buy.

2006 Vinoptima Gewürtztraminer, Gisborne, New Zealand
Medium gold in the glass, this wine smells of orange peel and rose petals. In the mouth, weighty, silky flavors of orange peel and rose petals and honey with hints of lychee and a touch of lemongrass lingering in the finish. Despite moderate sweetness up front, the sugar doesn't linger on the palate. 13.5% alcohol. 18 grams per liter residual sugar. Score: between 8.5 and 9. click to buy.

2008 Vinoptima Gewürtztraminer, Gisborne, New Zealand
Medium gold in color, this wine smells of orange blossom water and lychee. In the mouth, strong lychee fruit mixes with orange peel and pomelo pith, lingering slightly bitter on the palate, along with a striking wet chalkboard kind of minerality. The wine starts off sweet, but doesn't coat the palate. 14% alcohol. 15 grams per liter of residual sugar. Score: around 9. click to buy.

2010 Vinoptima Gewürtztraminer, Gisborne, New Zealand
Light yellow gold in color, this wine smells of exotic flowers like tuberose and orange blossom. In the mouth, lithe flavors of pomelo and mandarine orange mix with lychee and very pretty minerality. Only faintly sweet, the wine has a wonderful wet chalkboard finish scented with lychee. 13.5% 13 grams per liter of residual sugar. Score: between 9 and 9.5. click to buy.

2007 Vinoptima "Noble" Gewürtztraminer, Gisborne, New Zealand
Light to medium amber in color, this wine smells of a touch of chamomile flower, candied orange peels, honey, and dried apricots. In the mouth, silky, thick, very sweet flavors of apricot and butterscotch and tinned peaches still have a slight grip on the palate and a remarkable wet chalkboard character that emerges on the finish that leaves the mouth feeling rather cool and refreshed, instead of coated with sugar. Quite pretty. Not picked until the middle of June, when the select rows of grapes are fully botrytized with noble rot. 110 grams per liter of residual sugar, 11% alcohol. Score: around 9.5. click to buy.

New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc Podcast

Hard to think of any grape that blew up in popularity like New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. Certainly, no white wine has had the kind of spectacular success and continued growth as NZ SB. But is it a little one-note, samey-same?

Image via Facebook/Clos Henri Vineyard

This is an issue I explore on the latest episode of the What We’re Tasting podcast. My guest is Christina Pickard, who reviews the wines of New Zealand for The Thuse. (She also covers Australia.) She is a very good egg and guest. I learned a lot. We also managed to talk about my mother mowing the lawn. Really.

A few quick words about the three wines we discuss:

  • Nautilus: textbook NZ SB from the Marlborough region
  • Clos Henri: Sancerre meets New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc
  • Peregrine: Sauv Blanc where Pinot Noir is the star (Central Otago)

Here’s the episode:

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Randy Meyer of Geyser Peak Winery Talks Roses (Flowers)

Recently I was invited to taste through a lineup of Sauvignon Blanc from Geyser Peak Winery. Located in Healdsburg, California, I was at first intrigued because it seems, well, audacious for a place to make four (!) Sauvignon Blancs. It reminded me of Matanzas Creek, the only other Sonoma winery I could think of  also producing numerous Sauv Blancs from multiple sites. (If there are more, LMK.)

After the tasting I happened to learn the new (as of March) winemaker at Geyser Peak Winery, Randy Meyer, had a passion outside of wine I thought was intriguing. He’s really into roses. And no, I’m not one of those people who spell rosé without the accent over the e. (Here’s a great rant about that from one of my favorite wine blogs, The Drunken Cyclist.) I’m talking roses as in flowers and that Poison song.

Anyway, I thought I would give Randy a call and we’d talk about roses and Sauvignon Blanc. Concerning the latter, we get into Geyser Peak Winery’s three bottlings sourced from Anderson Valley, Russian River Valley, and Dry Creek Valley. (I should note Geyser Peak does have a rosé as in the wine.)

Here are some highlights from our conversation.

On developing a passion for roses:

My father, who is a retired pediatrician, always had roses and would propagate them. One of our all-time favorites is the Double Delight. It’s got red edges and a cream center….Insanely fragrant. My dad used to propagate them and give them away to friends. So I remember when I got my first house he gave me a couple five-gallon buckets of Double Delight roses. It all started from there really.

Double Delight rose photo via Wikimedia commons by Arashiyama.

The number of rose varieties in his garden:

That’s funny I was just counting recently. I think I have eighteen in my yard now.

Whether roses at the end of vineyard rows are an early warning system for grapevine problems:

It is true to a certain extent. With particular varieties, they [roses] can pick up powdery mildew or any sort of potential wet climate diseases before the grapevines pick them up.

In a way roses are very similar to grapevines. They produce something wonderful, they go dormant, they have diseases, yet they’re hardy.

Thoughts on gardening and winemaking:

When you’re out there gardening, there is this very slight artistic element to it. You take pride in raising that crop, whether it’s an amazing bouquet of all different kinds of roses or some amazing Sauvignon Blanc. The two do go very much hand-in-hand….There’s also attention to detail, a little bit of preventative methodology, that goes into both of them.

Randy Meyer of Geyser Peak Winery Talks Roses (Flowers)

Randy Meyer, winemaker at Geyser Peak Winery

Why Sauvignon Blanc is interesting to work with, particularly in multiple sites:

We’re very lucky to have these vineyard sources in the three different valleys. I must admit they all are different. Those differences can either be accelerated or brought together depending upon when they’re picked [the grapes] and how they’re farmed.

Alexander Valley’s the hottest. When we’re up there, we’re usually looking at making sure the grapes don’t get too ripe. One of my critical Sauvignon Blanc attentions to detail is maturity at harvest. It’s probably one of the pickiest grapes at harvest as far as nailing the maturity to the flavor profile. Alexander Valley being pretty warm, the acidity can drop pretty quickly. Those crisp flavors can drop out quickly, too.

When you move to Russian River, you’re dealing with high acidity. And often times a slightly higher brix [sugar content of grapes] level that may not be damaging to the flavors….I tend to like Sauvignon Blanc from Russian River a teeny bit riper.

In Dry Creek, you’re kind of splitting the middle. The particular vineyard around the winery, I’d almost borderline call it pungent. Really aromatic, big grapefruit, passion fruit.

With Sauvignon Blanc people used to use a bit of oak and the Fumé [Blanc style] was popular. Then New Zealand came on the scene….that whole trend took off. For the most part that grapefruit-y style, which is one of my favorites, seems to be what consumers are going after. And I’m more than happy to make it for a long time.

This interview has been edited and condensed.

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Vinography Unboxed: Week of April 8, 2018

Hello, and welcome to my periodic dig through the samples pile. I'm pleased to bring you the latest installment of Vinography Unboxed, where I highlight some of the better bottles that have crossed my doorstep recently.

This week features all white wines from across the country and one entrant from Germany. Let's start with some truly delicious Chardonnays from California and Oregon.

The star this week was the 2015 Smith Madrone Chardonnay which really hits all the right notes. Regular readers know I'm a fan of this producers wines, but their Chardonnay doesn't always thrill me. The 2015, however, is a stunning effort and one that fans of various styles of California Chardonnay are bound to love, as it walks a fine line between old and new world styles.

The other two Chards from Oregon are also worth looking at, but very different in style, with the Big Table Farm in its floral delicacy, and the Ponzi reserve showing sap and resin and basically masquerading as Burgundy.

Before we move on to some interesting wines from a state many people don't think of as a wine producer, let's make a brief stop in the Baden region of Germany for a Pinot Gris that has a lot going on for it. The Salwey Pinot Gris is bone dry and comes from a Grosses Gewachs or "Great Growth" vineyard, something akin to a Burgundy Grand Cru.

A couple alternative Napa white wines were also on offer this week, a Sav Blanc from Quintessa that is full of green goodness, and a Sav Blanc / Semillon blend from Signorello that is definitely worth paying attention to.

But now lets leave the realm of the expected, and head off to Michigan, where I've got several wines from a family run producer known as Brengman Brothers, who make wines on the Leelenau Peninsula near Traverse City. Michigan has proven its ability to make aromatic white wines of high quality, and these wines from Brengman Brothers support that reputation. My favorite was the somewhat unusual blend of Viognier, Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Gris, but the rest of the wines are competent as well.


2015 Smith Madrone Chardonnay, Spring Mountain District, Napa, California
Pale gold in the glass, this wine smells of lemon curd and buttered popcorn. In the mouth, wonderfully juicy flavors of lemon curd, candied grapefruit and a touch of butterscotch are positively electric with acidity. Phenomenally mouthwatering and delicious. There's oak at work here, but it plays mostly into the silky texture of the wine, leaving the rich fruit and the explosive acidity to shine. This wine is a great example of a middle path for Vinography Unboxed: Week of April 8, 2018California Chardonnay, one which displays sun-drenched richness but at the same time keeps with the tradition of high acidity freshness that we all expect in our Burgundian Chardonnays. 14.4% alcohol. Score: around 9.5. Cost: $35. click to buy.

2016 Big Table Farm Chardonnay, Willamette Valley, Oregon
Palest greenish gold in the glass, this wine smells of wet stone, bee pollen and white flowers. In the mouth, delicate flavors of chamomile, lemon pith and pink grapefruit have just a touch of oak and a lacy acidity. Pretty and subtle. 13.3% alcohol. Score: between 9 and 9.5. Cost: $45. click to buy.

2014 Ponzi Vineyards "Reserve" Chardonnay Willamette Valley, Oregon
Palest greenish gold in color, this wine smells of sappy greengage plum and lemon pith. In the mouth, wonderfully resinous flavors of lemon pith, lemon oil, and candied grapefruit have a nice zip to them thanks to excellent acidity. Positively old-world in its complexion. Very tasty. 13.8% alcohol. Score: between 9 and 9.5. Cost: $38. click to buy.

2013 Salwey "Oberrotweiler Eichberg Grosses Gewachs" Pinot Gris, Baden, Germany
Medium to dark blonde in color, this wine smells of candied lemon rind, pear skin, and bee pollen. In the mouth, candied lemon rind, pomelo pith, and a faint honeyed character make for a complex and interesting mouthful. Not a hint of sweetness in this wine, but a touch of sultanas in the finish. 13% alcohol. Score: around 8.5. Cost: $15.

2015 Signorello Estate "SETA" White Blend, Napa Valley, Napa, California
Light yellow-gold in color, this wine smells of salty candle wax, lemon oil, and oak. In the mouth, faintly waxy flavors of lemon, grapefruit and oak have a nice salty tang to them and a nice bit of citrus pith sourness on the finish. Very good acidity. Perhaps slightly more oak influence than I would like, but a pretty wine nonetheless. A blend of 66% Sauvignon Blanc and 34% Semillon. 14.3% alcohol. Score: between 8.5 and 9. Cost: $??.

2016 Quintessa "Illumination" Sauvignon Blanc, California, North Coast
Pale gold in color, this wine smells of green apples and kiwi. In the mouth, flavors of passionfruit, kiwi and gooseberries have a wonderfully silky texture to them and a nice purity. I find myself wishing for more acidity however, as the delicious flavors feel a bit flabby on the tongue. Tasty, though. 14.2% alcohol. Score: around 8.5. Cost: $ to buy.

2016 Brengman Brothers "Block 65 Blend" White Blend, Leelenau Peninsula, Michigan
Light gold in color, this wine smells of orange blossoms and citrus oils. In the mouth, a pleasing melange of citrus, honey, peach juice and white flowers flows across the palate. Decent acidity and a lovely silky texture. Unusual, but quite effective. A blend of 40% Viognier, 30% Sauvignon Blanc, and 30% Pinot Gris. 11.5% alcohol. Score: between 8.5 and 9. Cost: $25. click to buy.

2016 Brengman Brothers "Crain Hill Vineyard - Gary's Reserve" Gewurztraminer, Leelenau Peninsula, Michigan
Light to medium blonde in the glass, this wine smells of citrus peel and rose petals. In the mouth, silky flavors of orange peel, roses and other blossoms have a nice brightness to them thanks to excellent acidity. The wine escapes the typical traps of bitterness and oiliness, thanks to having been harvested on the earlier side. Tasty. 12.5% alcohol. Score: between 8.5 and 9. Cost: $25.

2016 Brengman Brothers "Crain Hill Vineyard - Spatlese" Riesling, Leelenau Peninsula, Michigan
Pale gold in color, this wine smells of wet stone and honeysuckle. In the mouth, faintly sweet flavors of honeysuckle, poached pear and quince paste have a nice silkiness to them and enough acidity to keep the wine from being syrupy. Not quite as dynamic as I would like, but pleasant and tasty. 10% alcohol. Score: around 8.5. Cost: $30.

2016 Brengman Brothers "Crain Hill Vineyard - Beerenauslese" Riesling, Leelenau Peninsula, Michigan
Light to medium gold in the glass, this wine smells of honey and orange peel. In the mouth, moderately sweet flavors of honey, apricot, and touch of brown sugar mix with good acidity and a nice chalky minerality. The wine is not quite as dynamic as I would like, but is pretty nonetheless, with a poached pear note in the finish. 8.4% alcohol Score: around 8.5. Cost: $35.

2016 Brengman Brothers "Crain Hill Vineyard - Selection de Grains Nobles" Gewurztraminer, Leelenau Peninsula, Michigan
Medium gold in color, this wine smells of candied orange peel and honey. In the mouth, moderate to very sweet flavors of orange peel and apricot have a nice ethereal lightness to them and enough acidity to keep them from being cloying, though they lack the intensity I would expect from a fully botrytized Gewurztraminer. 10.8% alcohol. Score: around 8.5. Cost: $35.

Woodinville: Board Track Racer Tasting Room


Board Track Racer Tasting Room Coming to Woodinville

From Mark Ryan Winery

SEATTLE, February 1, 2018 — Mark McNeilly is excited to announce that he’s opening a new tasting room in Woodinville, this time dedicated to his Board Track Racer line of Washington wines. Located at 19501 144th Ave F-900 in Woodinville’s Warehouse District, the tasting room will open its doors on Saturday, February 24 at 12pm.

Board Track Racer Cellars, one of Mark Ryan Winery’s sister projects, produced its first vintage in 2008 and is named for the wild wood track motorcycle races of the 1920s. The labels for all the wines are inspired by the same era, with great motorcycle-centric graphics—McNeilly is a big fan of vintage motorcycles and the freewheeling spirit they convey. 


The current Board Track Racer wines are:

The Vincent Red (Columbia Valley Blend)

The Vincent White (Chardonnay)

The Chief (Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Petit Verdot)

The Shift (Syrah, Mourvedre)


With inviting gray walls, blond wood, and a communal table for 12, the Board Track Racer tasting room will have a relaxed, motorcycle and rock-n-roll vibe, like the Mark Ryan tasting room. The space has a glass garage door that will offer guests a peek into barrel storage that is shared with neighboring wineries. Capacity is about 85 making the tasting a great option for private events too. 

“The Board Track Racers wines are wonderfully accessible both in taste and price point,” says McNeilly. “I’m thrilled to have a second Woodinville venue to share the wines!”

The tasting room will be open Saturdays and Sundays from 12pm – 6pm, pouring tastes of the Board Track Racer wines, as well as select bottles from both Megan Anne Cellars and Mark Ryan Winery on rotation. For more information, call 425.481.7070. 

Established in 1999 by Mark Ryan McNeilly, Mark Ryan Winery is an acclaimed Washington winery based in Woodinville, just north of Seattle. A largely self-taught winemaker, the first vintages were crushed and produced in garages of friends and family—in the years since, the winery has grown in size, earning respect and acclaim from wine lovers and critics alike along the way. The goal has always been to make delicious wines that stand as true representations of the vineyard from which they come. For more information, visit



Barking Frog: Renovation Planned Early 2018


Barking Frog house kitchen to get an extensive remodel to keep pace with guest demand


Woodinville, Wash (December 6, 2017) – After more than seventeen years, the Barking Frog restaurant at Willows Lodge is set to undergo an extensive kitchen remodel in January 2018 to better serve the growing needs of culinary and hotel guests. The restaurant will close on January 2, 2018, and plans to reopen on February 6th, 2018. During the Barking Frog closure, Willow Lodge will be serving a limited menu in Fireside Lounge for breakfast/brunch, lunch, and dinner and the Barking Frog Mobile Kitchen food truck will be parked onsite, serving hotel guests and visitors a fun, mixed menu on weekends.

“We’ve seen tremendous growth in our food and beverage demands over the last 17 years at Barking Frog and Willows Lodge,” said Denny Fitzpatrick, General Manager, Willows Lodge. “It is our goal to continue to offer an excellent guest experience and we’re excited to reveal a more modern and efficient kitchen to meet the rapidly growing culinary needs of our valued guests in 2018.”

Willows Lodge will continue to offer Happier Hour daily from 4-6pm in Fireside Lounge. In addition, hotel guests will still have access to a limited room service menu for in-room dining. On Saturday and Sunday, the Barking Frog Mobile Kitchen (BFMK) food truck will be parked out front of the hotel serving brunch items such as warm Beignets, Chorizo Burritos, and Grand Mariner Prawns from 9am-2pm. 

Executive Chef Bobby Moore will be overseeing the Barking Frog renovation. Both Chef Bobby and Chef de Cuisine, Chris Smith, will continue to manage operations at Fireside and BFMK during the renovation, as well share behind the scenes of the remodel in January on social media. 

“We are taking the Barking Frog back of the house to a whole new level and I could not be more excited for the big reveal in February 2018,” said Barking Frog Executive Chef Bobby Moore. “This new work space will allow us to continue to innovate and bring guests the best culinary experience.” 

During the kitchen remodel, the banquette along the windows will get a new, updated look to go along with the remainder of the interior which was redecorated in the past year. An expanded pass shelf and kitchen entry will provide a more open experience for guests to get closer to the action in the kitchen. 

Be sure to follow @BarkingFrogWoodinville and @WillowslodgeWA on Instagram for behind the scenes photos of the renovation, as well as Chef Bobby and Chef Chris around town.  


January 2018 Willows Lodge Fireside Lounge Modified Service Schedule

During the Barking Frog closure, Willows Lodge guests will have access to daily food and beverage service in Fireside Lounge:

·       Breakfast: Continental buffet breakfast in Fireside MondayFriday 7am-11am and Saturday/Sunday 7am-12pm ($20 per person).

·      Lunch and Dinner will be served daily on a first-come-first-served (no reservations) in Fireside Lounge. Lunch service from 11:00am-3pm, with a condensed menu including items such as Dungeness Crab Cobb Salad, and Tillamook White Cheddar Cheese Mac and Cheese. Dinner service is from Monday-Sunday 3pm-10pm and will include items such as Braised Lamb Shank Tacos, Beef Tenderloin and Seared Scallops and more. A full modified menu is available upon request and will be available on the hotel website.

·       Fireside Entertainment: Acoustic music and guest musicians on Friday and Saturday only

·       Happier Hour: Daily in Fireside Lounge from 4-6pm

·       Guests may also make reservations at The Herbfarm on property and open Thursdays-Sundays.


Be one of the first guests to dine in the newly renovated Barking Frog in 2018. Make your February 2018 reservation on Open Table or by calling 425-424-2999.


There is still time to countdown and celebrate the New Year with Chef Bobby and team. Check out all of the great holiday and New Year’s Eve plans and hotel packages at


About Willows Lodge

Willows Lodge, a Northwest style lodge located in Woodinville Wine Country just outside of Seattle, features 84 luxury guestrooms, a full-service spa and high-tech equipped meeting space.  Executive Chef Bobby Moore’s American regional cuisine at Barking Frog reflects the seasonal and organic produce found in Puget Sound, and is artfully paired with an extensive list of Washington wines.  Willows Lodge also boasts Fireside Lounge, offering a casual and sophisticated atmosphere tucked away in the lobby with an outdoor patio overlooking the expansive surrounding landscape.




Rhanda Rosselot
Marketing Manager
(425) 424-2966


Anne Taylor Hartzell

For Willows Lodge

(206) 850-6501

Castillo de Feliciana: Pet Pictures with Santa


Join us for Pet Pictures with Santa! 
Saturday December 16th 
1 p.m. – 5 p.m. 


Castillo de Feliciana-  Woodinville Tasting Room
Suggested donation of $5 (or more if you are in the giving mood!)

All donations go to

Digital Pictures will be available online for download.
2 for 1 tastings and 10% off bottle purchases.
We encourage both pets and owners to dress up in their “ugliest” Christmas gear!
*please have pets on leash
For questions please call 425-949-5088
Castillo de Feliciana – Woodinville Tasting Room
Castillo de Feliciana: Pet Pictures with Santa
Castillo de Feliciana: Pet Pictures with Santa
Castillo de Feliciana: Pet Pictures with Santa
Castillo de Feliciana: Pet Pictures with Santa
Castillo de Feliciana: Pet Pictures with Santa
Castillo de Feliciana Woodinville Tasting Room,15114 148th Ave NE, Woodinville, WA 98072

Woodinville Winterfest: 1st Annual Celebration

Join us for the 1st Annual Celebrate Woodinville Winterfest

 Invite your family, friends, and neighbors and join in the joy of this great community celebration of Woodinville’s 1st annual Celebrate Woodinville Winterfest on Friday, December 1st and Saturday, December 2nd.

December 1, 2017 | 5:30pm – 7:30pm
Tree Lighting Ceremony | DeYoung Park
Join the Woodinville community for a Procession of Santa and his Elves to welcome in the Holiday Season! Then, grab your hot cocoa or UrbanUs Coffee and mix & mingle with community members as we await the lighting of the Woodinville Community Christmas Tree! We hope you’ll join us for a festive night in Downtown Woodinville, complete with special musical performances!


December 2, 2017 | 7:30am On-Site Registration | 9:00am Race Start

Celebrate Woodinville Winterfest 5k | DeYoung Park
Runners, walkers, joggers, strollers too! All are welcome to participate. Just come dressed in your Winterfest best and ready to enjoy our community!
All 5k participants will receive a finisher’s medal, courtesy of NW Trophy & Award and the first 150 runners to finish will receive a swag bag, courtesy of Woodin Creek Village! Every participant over the age of 21 will receive a ticket for a complimentary beer after the 5k.

For DETAILS and to REGISTER, please visit:

December 2, 2017 | 10:00am – 4:00pm

Winterfest Santa Photos & Street Fair and the Woodinville Rotary 0k
Windermere Real Estate Woodinville

Join the Woodinville community for local bites from The Pizza Coop & Ale House, Zoup and Daddy’s Donuts. Come thirsty – beverages for the 21+ crowd from Triplehorn Brewing, Dirty Bucket Brewing Company, Warr-King Wines and Belle & Bottle Wine Club. We’ll also have UrbanUs Coffee, hot cocoa, and more for the kiddos to partake in too!

No need to leave our hometown! Head inside Windermere Real Estate Woodinville for photos with Santa Claus, himself, courtesy of Windermere Real Estate Woodinville & Luna Anne. #WhyLeaveWoodinville

Lots of fun in store with activities from the Sammamish Valley Alliance and the Woodinville Farmer’s Market and our supportive sponsors! We’ll see you December 2nd for the Winterfest Street Fair – a full day of holiday fun!


We celebrate and thank our Winterfest sponsors:


Winterfest Sponsors: Westhill, Inc, Fairwinds Brittany Park, The Everett Clinic, Waste Management, Imprint Church, Voya Financial Advisors, Creekside MBK Senior Living, Windermere Real Estate Woodinville, Molbak’s Garden & Home, The Red-Wood Reserve, Woodinville Wine Country, Rotary Club of Woodinville, Photography by Carol Hook, and TRF Property Management.

Winterfest 5k Sponsors: 9Round 30 Minute Kickboxing, IRG Physical Therapy, NW Trophy & Award, Sierra Construction and Woodin Creek Village.

About Celebrate Woodinville Winterfest


Celebrate Woodinville Winterfest is presented by the Woodinville Chamber, as an extension of our seasonal events for the Woodinville community. The mission of Celebrate Woodinville is to bring Woodinville residents together for family-oriented events, encourage a sense of community, and promote Woodinville’s wineries, breweries, local businesses, agriculture, and unique character to visitors from throughout the Puget Sound Region. Follow us on Facebook at and visit our website at for more information.

St. Nick’s Holiday Food & Wine: 15th Annual Event


Annual tradition features acclaimed, award-winning top chef, elevated culinary experiences and the best pours from Woodinville’s winemakers



Woodinville, Wash. (October 31, 2017) — Woodinville Wine Country’s annual St. Nick’s holiday celebration welcomes wine lovers from around the Northwest to celebrate 15 years of holiday fun with a premier food and wine experience, kicking off on Thursday, Nov. 30, and ending with the St. Nick’s Annual Open House Celebration on Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 2-3.

St. Nick’s Holiday Weekend Events include:

·         Private Dinner w/Chef Justin Severino
Thursday, Nov. 30, 6:30 p.m., $195/ticket
Betz Family Winery
Buy tickets here:

·         “Cure-ated” Food and Wine Experience
Friday, Dec. 1, 7-9:30 p.m., $95
Novelty Hill Januik Winery
Buy tickets here:

·         St. Nick’s Annual Open House Celebration 
Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 2-3, 1-5 p.m. $65/weekend, $50/single day
Participating Woodinville wineries and tasting rooms
Buy tickets here:

This year, St. Nick’s welcomes nationally acclaimed and award-winning guest chef, Justin Severino. Severino is a four-time James Beard Foundation award nominee for “Best Chef Mid-Atlantic,” the 2014 and 2015 winner of Food & Wine magazine’s “The People’s Best New Chef Mid-Atlantic” and is the chef and co-owner of Cure and Morcilla, two premier restaurants in Pittsburgh, PA. Severino teams up with Chef Seth Fernald, executive chef at Novelty Hill Januik winery, for this special event where they will highlight their passion for small plates. On Thursday, Nov. 30, a private dinner featuring Chef Severino will be held at Betz Family Winery. Tickets are $195 per seat.

            “As this is our 15th year hosting St. Nicks, we wanted to provide an enhanced experience to give new and returning guests an expanded culinary experience that truly highlights the incredible caliber of wines found here in Woodinville,” said Sandra Lee, executive director of Woodinville Wine Country. “Having Chef Fernald and Chef Severino’s collaboration as a central part of this year’s St. Nick’s festivities is the perfect way to celebrate the event’s 15th anniversary.”

            This year’s St. Nick’s menu highlights Chef Severino’s extensive charcuterie experience and Italian influence while showcasing Chef Fernald’s flair for Pacific Northwest cuisine and local ingredients. Dishes include duck rillette, poached shrimp, ciccioli and oyster escabeche“It’s always exciting bringing guest chefs from around the world to Woodinville Wine Country,” said Chef Seth Fernald of Novelty Hill Januik. “We had a fun time planning the menu and bringing together our culinary points of view. The menu truly plays to both of our strengths and pairs well with the spectacular Washington wine featured at the event.”

            While sampling bites from this collaborative menu, guests will get the opportunity to mingle with the chefs and sample wines from more than 30 Washington wineries including DeLille Cellars, Matthews Winery, J. Bookwalter and Patterson Cellars.

            For more information on St. Nick’s Holiday Wine Weekend events including full menus and a list of participating wineries, please visit


About Woodinville Wine Country

Conveniently located 25 minutes northeast of downtown Seattle, Woodinville is home to nearly 100 Washington wineries and tasting rooms, featuring award-winning wines and first-in-class tasting room experiences. For more information and to plan your next tasting experience, visit or follow us on Facebook at Woodinville Wine Country.




Media Contact:

Rachael Brister

Public Relations, GreenRubino for Woodinville Wine Country

P: 206.957.4266