There are few things better on a summer’s evening than unraveling a blanket on the ground, unpacking a picnic basket filled with various nibbles and enjoying a bottle of wine while you settle in for an outdoor concert by a well known musician. Chateau Ste. Michelle Winery in Washington State is as perfect a backdrop as anywhere in the Pacific Northwest.
For the past 5 years, Advinetures has made the pilgrimage down to Woodinville, a small suburb 25 minutes north of Seattle, to listen to great music while sharing some terrific wine and food with friends. In an area where tasting rooms abound, Chateau Ste. Michelle is one of the few wineries located in Woodinville and arguably the most beautiful to visit. Its 87 acres allows for plenty of room to show off its French inspired Chateau, along with accompanying fountains, sculptures and gardens. Right outside the tasting room is a full concert stage set up facing a hill slope creating a natural amphitheatre. The sound system is so good you’ll often see people who are unable to get a ticket inside the concert area happily setting up their lawn chairs on another part of the grounds just to listen.
Inside the seating area you have a choice between reserved seats or general admission. For our first experience, we chose to buy the reserved seats but it wasn’t long after we arrived we realized that having the freedom to set up a blanket, stretch our legs and bring in food was a better way to enjoy the experience. We have since spent the past 4 years honing our picnicking skills and loving every minute of it.
Despite being limited to the host’s wines while on the grounds, you will be far from disappointed by the wine being offered by Washington State’s oldest winery. Chateau Ste. Michelle produces Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc, Pinot Gris, Gewürztraminer, Riesling, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Syrah, and Cabernet Sauvignon that range from good to excellent in quality not to mention terrific value. The winery also features two impressive winemaking ventures: they’ve partnered with Tuscany’s Piero Antinori for their Col Solare label as well as Mosel’s Ernst Loosen for their Eroica Riesling. And just this week the winery announced a new project called Tenet Wines, collaboration with Rhone winemakers Michel Gassier and Philippe Cambie featuring three wines: a GSM called “Tenet” and a Syrah called “The Pundit” from the Columbia Valley, and a Rhone Syrah called “Le Fervent”.
And then there’s the music itself. The summer concert series runs mid June to mid September with initial announcements made in late March/early April. Artists include your favourites from both past and present and from a mix of genres including jazz, blues, rock, folk and contemporary.
This year’s lineup includes everyone from Gregg Allman, Sheryl Crow and Chris Isaak to Taj Majal, Franki Valli and the Four Seasons and the Gipsy Kings. Some of this year’s concerts are already sold out; particularly those that fall on a Friday or Saturday night so don’t miss your chance to experience a truly memorable summer evening. We’ll see you there.