Wineries around the White Salmon and Bingen stretch of Highway 14 fall within the Columbia River Gorge (www.columbiagorgewine.com) bi-state viticultural appellation. Standing as they are on the wetter side of the mountains, the vineyards here tend to produce more delicate wines than the rest of Central Washington. The region also makes for a change of scenery compared to the rest of Washington wine country, with vineyards surrounded by more trees and vegetation than wheat fields and sagebrush.
Set on a hill overlooking Mt. Hood and the Gorge, Wind River Cellars (196 Spring Creek Rd., Husum, 509/493-2324, www.windrivercellars.com, 10 a.m.–6 p.m. daily, closed Dec. 15–Jan. 1, $5 tasting fee is waived if you purchase a bottle) is located off Highway 141 in Husum. Try the estate-grown white riesling in the tasting room, which is set within the winery’s lovely cottage with sloping eaves and cedar deck.
Check out the all-natural winemaking process at Klickitat Canyon Winery (6 Lyle-Snowden Rd., Lyle, 509/365-2900, www.columbiagorgewinery.com), which prides itself on its from-the-earth methods. The wines here are fermented using only the yeast on the grapes—winemakers don’t add any bi-sulfites and 100 percent of its grapes come from the Columbia Gorge, making its vintages a true reflection of the region’s terroir. Klickitat offers tours and barrel room tastings noon–6 p.m. Saturday–Sunday.
Plan ahead and call Gorge Crest Winery (509/493-2026, www.gorgecrest.com) to schedule a tasting appointment in its modern but comfortable big red barn winery center. The grounds are gorgeous—a favorite for weddings.
© Ericka Chickowski from Moon Washington, 8th edition