The Southwest Washington Winery Association invites you to celebrate Thanksgiving by…drinking more wine! Thanksgiving Weekend is the perfect, mellow time to enjoy first tastes straight from the barrel and to sample new releases. The Thanksgiving Weekend Wine Tour will be held over three days, giving you plenty of time to visit every winery on the list. Participating Southwest Washington Wineries will be open from noon to 6 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 25, Saturday, Nov. 26, and Sunday, Nov. 27. Tasting fees vary from winery to winery, so be sure to check websites before you plan your trip. Some wineries, like Moulton Falls and Rusty Grape, offer food like wood-fired pizza or small plates for nibbling. Wineries on the Thanksgiving Weekend Wine Tour include places in Vancouver, Ridgefield, Battle Ground and Yacolt. To see a map, visit www.swwawine.com.
There are nearly two-dozen family-owned, boutique wineries and vineyards in the local region. With an average production of only 1,000 cases per year, winemakers are still frequently in the tasting room, where you can meet them and learn their stories firsthand. Nestled between the north bank of the Columbia River and the foothills of the Cascade Mountains, the climate and soil are similar to Burgundy. The region excels at growing traditional European grapes such as Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris, Gewurztraminer, and Chardonnay, as well as lesser-known varietals like Golubok, Marechal-Foch and Zweigelt-Rebe. Grapes are also sourced from warmer climates nearby, like Walla Walla. Vintners in Southwest Washington are making red, white, rosé, sparking and dessert wines (try the delicious Port of Vancouver from English Estate). Many of these vintners, like Burnt Bridge Cellars in downtown Vancouver or Koi Pond in Ridgefield, have won numerous awards and are recognized in wine circles well beyond Southwest Washington.