Whenever I visit Seattle, one of my favorite activities is to get out of the city and take the ferry over to Bainbridge Island. Not only does this give you amazing views of Seattle’s skyline (without having to pay for a dinner cruise or boat tour), Bainbridge Island is home to some amazing wines.
The ferry departs from the downtown terminal at Pier 52 and drops you off in the cute town of Winslow. If you choose to visit without a vehicle, the town’s main street, Winslow Way, is an easy walk from the ferry terminal and is full of tasting rooms, restaurants, cafes and shops. However, If you bring a vehicle (which is what I would recommend), you can explore more of the island and head out to additional wineries that aren’t within walking distance.
Whether you want to embark on a day of wine tasting, or while away an afternoon on Winslow way, here’s my list of tasting rooms, wineries and vineyards not to be missed:
An easy 5 minute walk from the Ferry terminal, Island Vintners is the first tasting room you’ll encounter while walking down Winslow Way. Island Vintners is a collaboration of 2 boutique wineries on Bainbridge: Amelia Wynn Winery and Fletcher Bay Winery. The majority of these artisanal, small-run batches of wine are only available in this tasting room.
During my first visit I fell madly in love with the Amelia Wynn’s Aragon wine, and was devastated to learn (after much research) that it’s only available for purchase on the island. So, when I returned to the island last week, I was sure to stock up. Amelia Wynn Aragon is among my top 5 favorite wines. The winery is, in my opinion, one of Washington’s best kept secrets, and makes the best wine you’ve never heard of. They produce excellent Bordeaux, Rhone, and Northern Italian varietal wines. I cannot recommend their wine highly enough.
(450 Winslow Way E.)
Rolling Bay Winery:
Rolling Bay winery was my favorite stop of the day. While the tasting room is fairly small (and can get pretty crammed), the owners and regulars are extremely welcoming and are quick to make you feel at home. The setting is gorgeous (tucked away off a back dirt road), and the wines are wonderful. Tasting was $5, and the owners set out cheese and crackers for you to enjoy with your wine.
Rolling Bay winery definitely gets an A+ for atmosphere and overall experience. Beyond just offering exceptional wine, the owners/winemakers are extremely hospitable and wonderful hosts. We were even lucky enough to see two bald Eagles hanging out in a tree near the property.
I would highly recommend this winery to anyone visiting, and will definitely be back!
(10314 Beachcrest Dr.)
Besides being one of the oldest wineries in Washington, what sets Bainbridge Vineyards apart is that it’s one of the only vineyards on the island, and the only winery using 100% island grown grapes and fruit. The beautiful winery is located on seven acres of historic farmland, and the spacious tasting room includes windows into the wine production facility to give guests a “behind-the-scenes” glimpse.
The winery focuses on rare varietals that thrive in the Puget Sound. These cool climate grapes produce some unusual Washington wines, including Müller-Thurgau, Madeleine Angevine, and Siegerrebe.
The flight costs $5 and includes mostly white wines, with the exception of one pinot noir.
(8989 NE Day Rd)
Fletcher Bay Winery
Fletcher Bay Winery is a small boutique winery owned by Jim Wilford. The winery is located in the middle of a nondescript strip mall away from downtown (yet right next door to a brewery and distillery if you’re in the mood to continue your tasting adventure beyond wine). The cozy tasting room seats guests among barrels of aging wine.
Fletcher Bay specializes in rich, full-bodied red wines using grapes sourced from Columbia Valley, Walla Walla and the Yakima Valley. My favorite wine was the Cabernet, and I ended up taking home a bottle. I loved that they served food, after a day of wine tasting the cheese and crackers were heavenly! I also loved that the tasting fee was only $5 for six glasses of wine.
During our visit, there was an older couple sitting at the bar adjacent from us. The man made his own wine (learning from Jim Wilford, Fletcher Bay’s owner), and let us taste some of the wines he had on-hand. I even ended up buying a bottle of Strawberry wine from him. Overall the service and wines were great, and I would definitely recommend paying a visit.
(9415 Copper Top Loop)
Other Wineries to check out on Bainbridge Island:
Eleven Winery: 7671 NE Day Road East
Perennial Vintners: 8840 NE Lovgreen Road
Eagle Harbor Wine Co: 9445 NE Business Park Lane