Summer beckons in Central Washington, and the city of Wenatchee is in the heart of it all. Home to hiking, mountain biking and water sports on the Columbia River, which passes right through the city, there’s no shortage of summer-season fun in this city on the sunny side of the Cascades. Now, you can add sipping the craft creations at the area’s wineries and cideries to the mix. With summertime food and wine events, Wenatchee is fast becoming a key player in the Northwest culinary and beverage scenes.
Start your tasting tour at the Wenatchee Valley Visitor Center, located downtown. They have their own tasting room, where you can step up to the bar and sample some local wines and ciders while you learn about the area. Next, set out on your own tasting tour of the valley. There are more than a dozen tasting rooms, so you might get some advice on where to stop while at the visitor center.
Our winery picks in town are Chateau Faire Le Pont Winery, Bianchi Vineyards, Stemilt Creek Winery and Jones of Washington (located at Pybus Market, one of Wenatchee’s top attractions). For a scenic drive just outside of town, make the ascent to Malaga Springs Winery, located on dramatic acreage above the Columbia River against a backdrop of basalt cliffs. Each of these wineries is a family-run operation that produces finely crafted wines.
Cider is serious business in Wenatchee; the city is in the middle of the largest apple-producing region of the country. For tastings, head east into East Wenatchee to Snowdrift Cider Company, then west to Cashmere to visit Barns Etc. Hard Cider Shed and, finally, back to Wenatchee to Phillipi Ciderhouse and Distillery.
To sample many products in one place, attend a local event. At The Big Chill Ciderfest in Cashmere, on July 20, 2019, you’ll taste ciders by nearly a dozen local cidermakers; find out more and purchase tickets at cascadefarmlands.com/event/the-big-chill-ciderfest. The Wenatchee Food and Wine Festival takes place on August 24, 2019 and includes a competition of North-Central Washington wineries; learn more at wenatcheewineandfood.com.