Sips in the City: Seattle’s Urban Wineries

Woodinville may boast more than 90 wineries a short distance from the city, but did you know that Seattle has more than 20 urban wineries right here? It’s true. With production facilities and tasting rooms within the metropolis you can try a variety of wine styles while even using public transit.

  Deconstructed barrels are repurposed at Kerloo Cellars’ tasting room in SoDo.

Deconstructed barrels are repurposed at Kerloo Cellars’ tasting room in SoDo.

The collective of wineries known as Seattle Urban Wineries often throws open the doors for joint events, such as the recent SoDo Block Party. Celebrating a group of wineries jointly located at SoDo Urban Works on First Ave. So., the Saturday event was packed as visitors and tasters flocked to tastings by Full Pull Wines, Kerloo Cellars, and Waters Winery, among others.

  A concrete fermentation vessel in an urban winery’s production facility

A concrete fermentation vessel in an urban winery’s production facility

Not far away you can jet into Georgetown to try wines at Laurelhurst Cellars or Charles Smith Wines. Feel like staying over in West Seattle? You’re covered there too with four urban wineries including the Northwest Wine Academy, a division of South Seattle Community College. Here students can earn certificates in food and wine pairing, wine sales and marketing, or wine production. With a full tasting room on site you can try several vintages made right in house.

  Nearly open: The upstairs tasting room at Almquist Family Vintners

Nearly open: The upstairs tasting room at Almquist Family Vintners

Even north Seattle has more than a half dozen wineries, including the award-winning Almquist Family Vintners. A joint family effort by cousins Mike and Ben Almquist, the winery prides itself on its first-rate facilities, replete with a full bottling line and barrel storage. Producing more than 45 varietals in a gorgeous space adjacent to the Fremont Cut at 198 Nickerson St., Almquist Family Vintners also offers up event space utilizing the entrancing now-vacant space once occupied by the restaurant Hommage. (Don’t worry – a new restaurant called Branded is in the works and I fully intend to give it a whirl.)

I chatted with Ben as he took me around the facilities and he explained they often work with other wine makers to produce, age, and bottle wines in their facility. Anything from a single barrel to commercial production can be done without leaving the city. They even have a full distillery in operation and a wine garden, open daily, with room for more than a hundred guests.

  Ben Almquist showcasing the bar in the lovely greenhouse at 198 Nickerson St.

Ben Almquist showcasing the bar in the lovely greenhouse at 198 Nickerson St.

  Full bottling line at Almquist Family Vintners

Full bottling line at Almquist Family Vintners

While there may only be about 25 urban wineries in Seattle today, Ben projects that number will be closer to 100 in just three to four years. After all, he explained, with wines being all about a sense of place and style, why would you move the production to Woodinville when the bulk of the wine drinking population is right here in Seattle?

  Barrel storage and aging at the Almquist Family Vintners facilities

Barrel storage and aging at the Almquist Family Vintners facilities

To learn more about locations, tasting room hours, and special events, I encourage you to visit Seattle Urban Wineries. Let us know which urban winery becomes your next favorite. Salud!

Amy L. Dickson is a communications professional, freelance writer, and contributor to Rain or Shine Guides. She’s currently training at the NW Wine Academy for her Level 1 sommelier certification. Follow her at @amyldickson75.