Our second winery stop of the day was at Chateau Ste. Michelle just across the street. I was a bit hesitant go visit Chateau Ste. Michelle because it was so large and I was nervous it would be too commercial. I ended up being very glad we did & just loving the place! There was an arts & crafts festival there (probably for Labor Day weekend), and we enjoyed checking out all the aritsts and booths. They have a huge amphitheater with an incredible line-up of summer concerts & some really big names.
There were several old, large buildings & quite a bit of history to the winery. They had the typical huge gift shop with tons of wine-related baubles, and of course a gorgeously stocked cellar with all their wines. I really appreciated their variety of snacks and cheeses they offered, and we saw that many people brought their own picnics.
Our driver told us there was a tour every half-hour, so we checked out the grounds a little bit & then met up with the group for a tour behind the scenes at the winery. We found this gorgeous peacock out by one of the old manor homes & loved these cascading fish ponds.
Although we’ve visited numerous wineries around the world, I actually really enjoyed the tour & was fascinated by all the automated machinery that actually puts the wine into bottles, adds the cork & foil, applies the label, and then boxes it back up for shipping.
The next part of the tour was part educational and part sales. They did a fabulous job with all their props and art on the walls, showcasing the different varietals of grape & a lovely map of the Washington wine country. Then there was a few minutes all about the various specialty wines & partnerships that have generated some unique wines & blending. It was pretty interesting to see some of the more sophisticated things they’ve tried with their wines & I could generally appreciate their prominence in growing the Washington State wine appellation.
The tour ended up in their larger tasting room, where we received several free samples. I appreciated that we didn’t have to pay and it was plenty spacious (where as the tasting room bar was a bit more crowded). They had a special wine tasting room (box?) for their higher end collection wines, but we’re pretty happy drinking the cheap stuff.
I’m glad we decided to stop here- it’s a beautiful place, full of history & tradition, with a great connection to the local community with all their events and concerts. The Chateau Ste. Michelle is one of the more popular wines I see on the menus as far as Washington state wines, so I enjoyed learning more about their wines.
GOOD NEWS OF THE DAY: Meeting with an architect today- some exciting things in the works!