Over the years, Woodinville has become synonymous with wine in Washington. The Seattle suburb of about 11,000 attracts thousands of tourists because of its many wineries and tasting rooms, including Chateau Ste. Michelle and Columbia Winery.
But the grape isn't the only game in Woodinville anymore. In the past five years, craft distilleries have found a niche in Washington's fabled wine country, and their spirits have more and more people taking notice.
From stalwart vodkas to obscure grappas to delicate limoncellos, alcohol aficionados can find something stronger for their palates in Woodinville's fledgling distillery industry.
The distilleries offer free tours of their facilities, but, for the most part, the operations are small enough that it's a good idea to check in advance to learn if and when tours are happening.
From Bellingham, take Interstate 5 south toward Seattle. Take Exit 182 for Interstate 405 south toward Bellevue-Renton. Leave I-405 at Exit 23A. Take State Highway 522 east to the State Highway 202 exit east toward Woodinville-Redmond.
The family-owned operation uses traditional methods and equipment to create its spirits, which include absinthe and gin. The family's herb business also plays a role in the distillery's handmade single-batch recipes. Visitors can get a look at the old-fashioned copper alembic still.
18808 142nd Ave. N.E., No. 4B, Woodinville
Project V Distillery and Sausage Co.
It's not quite the circle of life Disney had in mind, but Project V's winter wheat goes both into its spirits and into feed for pigs that become sausage for sale. The grain goes into handcrafted vodkas (and soon whiskey), milled, distilled and bottled on site. Then, a local farm fattens up its pigs on the spent wheat for sausage and bacon.
19495 144th Ave. N.E., No. A-130, Woodinville
Soft Tail Spirits
Soft Tail Spirits capitalizes on its Washington location. Its specialty grappas are made from the pressings left over at local wineries, and its innovative vodka is made from Washington apples. Don't let the distillery's creativity fool you, though - its craft distilling is based on traditional equipment and methods.
12280 N.E. Woodinville Drive, Suite C, Woodinville
Woodinville Whiskey roots its philosophy in people's increasingly sophisticated tastes. From coffee to beer, people are seeking premium products, and Woodinville Whiskey thinks its customers find a better product to be loyal to in its barrels and state-of-the-art equipment.
16110 Woodinville Redmond Road N.E., Suite 3, Woodinville
OTHER WASHINGTON DISTILLERIES
The Seattle distillery features vodka made with Washington wheat and barley, and limoncello sweetened with Washington blackberry honey.
85 South Atlantic St., No. 110, Seattle
Bluewater Organic Distilling
Located in Everett, the distillery makes gin and vodka from all-organic ingredients certified by the Washington Department of Agriculture.
1205 Craftsman Way, Suite 116, Everett
Dry Fly Distilling
Dry Fly Distilling features local ingredients from sustainable farms in its spirits, which include vodka, whiskey, gin and bourbon.
1003 E. Trent, No. 200, Spokane
WHERE TO EAT
Dining at the Herbfarm is a seasonal experience, with its nine-course dinners created around in-season foods from throughout the Northwest.
14590 N.E. 145th St., Woodinville
Of course there's going to be Italian food in wine country, and Italianissimo Ristorante serves Northern Italian cuisine near the Wine Warehouse District in Woodinville.
15608 N.E. Woodinville-Duvall Road, Woodinville
Teddy's Bigger Burgers
The burger chain's Woodinville franchise is the only one outside Hawaii in America. The '50s-theme restaurant has a simple menu of burgers, fries and shakes.
17705 140th Ave. N.E., Woodinville
Gobble's menu sports all things turkey. The casual restaurant boasts slow-roasted turkey dinners, hand-carved sandwiches, and turkey lasagna and chili.
13300 N.E. 175th St., Suite 3, Woodinville
WHERE TO STAY
Willows Lodge is a Pacific Northwest getaway on the Sammamish River. The lodge features a spa, the distinctive Barking Frog restaurant, a garden walk and much more.
14580 N.E. 145th St., Woodinville
A Big Red Barn and Breakfast
Have a country-style breakfast after spending a night in a 1939 barn converted into a cozy inn.
16560 140th Place N.E., Woodinville
Auberge Inn Seattle, French Country Inn
Ten minutes from Woodinville, the Auberge offers secluded accommodations with full-service amenities and personalized charm.
16400 216 Ave. N.E., Woodinville
Eric Lochridge is a Bellingham-based writer and editor.