Sol Duck Hot Springs and Washington Wine

Wouldn’t a soak in natural hot springs feel good right about now?

Sol Duc Hot Springs are located in the Olympic National Park, about an hour beyond Port Angeles, WA. It is a rustic paradise. Leave your cell phone at home and journey to a place where the main activities are soaking in mineral hot springs, hiking in the Olympic Mountains, and breathing in the fresh air.

Cabins are tucked among towering evergreens and along the Sol Duc River. There are non-kitchen cabins and cabins with kitchens; some sleep up to five people, some accommodate as many as ten. Come for a romantic getaway with one special person, or gather a group of friends for a weekend of fun.

If you are traveling from the Seattle area, you’ll pass through Port Angeles on your way to the Sol Duc Hot Springs. Take a few moments to stop at the Washington State Wineries there for wine tasting. You won’t want to travel into the heart of the Olympic National Park without a few bottles of delicious Washington State Wine.

The first winery you’ll pass is Olympic Cellars, which is just east of Port Angeles in a lovely old barn. Black Diamond Winery is three miles outside of the heart of Port Angeles, beautifully situated on 20-acres overlooking the Tumwater Creek. Camaraderie Cellars is a lush, intimate space just two miles west of Port Angeles. Harbinger Winery is in a wonderful converted ex-logging truck shop, right on 101 west of Port Angeles.

Stop by all four Port Angeles Washington Wineries; you’ll need a good deal of wine, for soaking in hot springs creates great thirst. On your way back home, you can stop by and pick up a few more bottles of your favorites.

sol duc hot springs lodge

Bring Washington State Wine to Sol Duc Hot Springs.

To make a lodging reservation, visit Sol Duc Hot Springs.

Thanksgiving on the Olympic Peninsula

Spending Thanksgiving on the Olympic Peninsula with family or friends? Be sure to bring some Washington State wine to the table. Olympic Peninsula wineries offer a surprising variety of wines, one of which is sure to complement your Thanksgiving meal.

Drink wine on the Olympic Peninsula over Thanksgiving weekend.

Once the feast has been consumed and the table cleared, you may find yourself wondering what to do. Wine tasting is a terrific activity at this time of year, when the weather can be blustery even in the Olympic Rain Shadow. It’s especially fun to go wine tasting with a group of friends and/or family. Try the same wine and enjoy discussing its nose and legs, or try different wines and steal sips. You can find wines to drink with Thanksgiving left-overs, and wines to store until Christmas and New Years. Why not pick up a few bottles of Washington State wine to offer as holiday gifts while you’re at it?

Consider touring all the Olympic Peninsula wineries over the weekend. Visit Washington State wineries and cideries near Port Townsend on one day, and in Port Angeles and Sequim on another day. Stop for a leisurely lunch while you’re out and about, after all, the holiday season is here, and it’s time to celebrate.

Welcome Eaglemount Wine and Cider

Olympic Peninsula Wineries Association welcomes Eaglemount Wine and Cider of Port Townsend to our group of Washington State wineries. Eaglemount Wine and Cider is located off Eaglemount Road, on a beautiful old homestead near the junction of Highway 20 and Highway 101 at Discovery Bay.

Eaglemount Cider of Port Townsend.

Eaglemount is known in the area for their several varieties of outstanding ciders: Homestead Cider (made of heirloom apples), Cyser (hard cider sweetened with honey), Ginger Cider (Homestead Cider and organic ginger), and Perry Cider (a slightly sweet pear cider). Their Washington state wines are also quite popular: grapes come from Arianses Vineyard near Mattawa, WA, which is known for producing outstanding wine grapes. They’re then aged underground in American French, and Hungarian oak barrels.

Eaglemount Wine and Cider has joined just in time to participate in our 2010 Harvest Olympic Peninsula Winery Tour, which takes place November 13 and 14, from 11 a.m to 5 p.m. It’s an ideal place to stop when traveling between the Washington State wineries of Port Angeles and Sequim and those in Port Townsend and Chimacum.

Visit Hurricane Ridge

Road leading up to Hurricane Ridge in the Olympic National Park

The road to Hurricane Ridge.

Beautiful August weather has returned, which means it’s a great time to drive to the top of Hurricane Ridge, in the Olympic National Park. The views are unparalleled, both from the peak and from several scenic overlooks along the way. Once at Hurricane Ridge, a paved loop leads to expansive views, while unpaved trails lead to the heart of the Olympic Mountains. You may hear a whistling marmot welcoming you to the wilderness.

Once you’ve returned to sea level on the Olympic Peninsula, visit Washington State Wineries in and around Port Angeles. Wines produced on the Olympic Peninsula come from grapes grown here and in eastern Washington State. Wine tastings are offered daily during the summer, and are a wonderful way to find the wines you really love.

Select a bottle or two to bring back home; and when you drink them, remember what it felt like to stand on top of the world.

Finnriver Crafts Artisan Hard Cider, Wine and Spirits

Our Washington State Wineries Group welcomes Finnriver Farm and Cidery, located twelve miles south of historic Port Townsend in Chimacum’s Center Valley.

Visit the Tasting Room Thursday - Sunday from 1 - 5pm, May through October

Finnriver is dedicated to sustainable agriculture, ecological land stewardship, and enhancing biodiversity. The Kislers, Eric Jorgensen and family, and their partners grow certified organic berries and heirloom apple trees, and also “glean wild apples from old-time local homesteads and source fruit from a fifth generation organic family farm in eastern Washington.” They then craft these fruits into artisan sparkling ciders, dessert wines and spirits. (more…)

A Place in Washington Wine Industry History

The Associated Press ran a story yesterday about the phenomenal growth of Washington’s wine industry. Just 10 years ago, 160 wineries supported the state’s burgeoning industry. Since then the number of wineries has grown nearly 300 percent, with winery #602 receiving its license just last month.

A little known fact, the Olympic Peninsula’s place in our state’s wine industry dates back three decades, to a time when there were a mere 15 wineries in the state!

Port Angeles’ Olympic Cellars, the Peninsula’s first commercial winery, was founded by grower Gene Neuharth in 1979. Formerly known as Neuharth Winery, the name was changed to Olympic Cellars in the mid-80s. Now the woman-owned and operated home of “Working Girl Wines,” Olympic Cellars continues to offer Gene’s popular “Dungeness Red” and “Dungeness White” labels.

Lost Mountain Winery of Sequim was established in 1981 by second-generation Italian winemaker Romeo Conca. Currently owned and operated by Steve and Sue Conca, Romeo’s son and daughter-in-law, Lost Mountain continues to produce premium red wines in old-world style, without added sulfites.

Get away to the beautiful Olympic Peninsula this spring and experience this piece of our state’s wine industry history! Olympic Cellars, Lost Mountain and the five additional wineries that have made the Peninsula their home over the past 30 years — FairWinds, Sorenson Cellars, Black Diamond, Camaraderie Cellars and Harbinger Winery — welcome you!

Is Wine Recession-Proof?

While it’s been reported that wine sales are up in 2009, with Washington state wines showing the greatest domestic growth  (http://wineindustryinsight.com/?p=763), the fact is that the wine industry is not recession proof. Washington winemakers have been feeling the pinch as reported by the Tri-City Herald (http://www.tri-cityherald.com/kennewick_pasco_richland/story/472266.html).  According to WINO Magazine Editor Doug Haugen, however, there is a win/win solution for wine consumers and wineries in a down economy — buy direct. Here’s what Doug has to say,  http://www.winomagazine.com/2009/02/economy-scheconomy/.

Research Shows Wine, Chocolate & Tea Improve Brain Performance

Good news just in time for the Olympic Peninsula Red Wine & Chocolate Tour! According to an article in the International Business Times, new research shows that consumers of wine, chocolate and tea performed significantly higher on tests and had lower prevalence of poor cognitive performance than those who do not indulge. The study was conducted by Oxford’s Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics and published in the Journal of Nutrition. The researchers link their findings to flavanoids, although they caution that more testing is needed to verify the connection. Evidence does point to wine having pronounced effects. http://www.ibtimes.com/articles/20081222/wine-chocolate-and-tea-eaters-rejoice-consumption-improves-brain-performance.htm

This year, consider a holiday gift that helps boost the state economy

Wine pairs perfectly with the holidays. Think of a luscious full-bodied Cabernet alongside a Christmas standing rib roast; turkey with all the trimmings and a glass of crisp Viognier or a flavorful semi-dry rosé. Festive cranberry wines are perfect for sipping with a mix of hors d’oeuvres and ports can be savored at the end of a meal with or without dessert.

A bottle of wine handcrafted in Washington makes an excellent holiday gift, and is an opportunity to celebrate the bounty of our state with friends and family. With enough variety to please any palate, wine is a choice that is rarely “re-gifted.”

And why not add some fun to your holiday shopping? Instead of running to the grocery store and picking up a bottle, take the time to visit some local wineries. Discover varietals and blends that may only be available in the tasting room, adding to their uniqueness as holiday gift items.

While pleasing those on your holiday list, you’ll also be helping to boost our state’s economy by becoming a “wine tourist.” According to the “Economic Impact of Washington Grapes and Wine,” a comprehensive study commissioned by the Washington Wine Commission and the Washington Association of Wine Grape Growers and released earlier this year, wine tourism expenditures increased 165.3 percent each year between 1999 and 2006, reaching $237.6 million in 2006. Overall, Washington’s wine industry contributes $3 billion annually to our state’s economy. Let’s keep the train going!

Celebrate Lavender Wine Tour

Summer covers the North Olympic Peninsula in numerous shades of purple as the designated Lavender Capital of North America comes abloom. Celebrating this seasonal heritage, the Olympic Peninsula Wineries invite the public to enjoy a special Lavender Wine Tour, from Saturday, July 12 to Sunday July 20. the seven artisan wineries will pour their new and current releases from 11- 5 daily. Drive the self-guided Lavender Wine Tour and experience the warm hospitality for which the wineries are known.

The wine tour kicks-off Sequim’s annual Lavender Festival, set to take place July 18-20. The festival is the largest lavender event in North America, attracting visitors from around the world each year.  The Olympic Peninsula Wineries will be featured in the Wine & Beer Garden during the Festival Street Fair, with wines available for tasting or for purchase by the glass or by the bottle.

We’ve got stories

One of the advantages of visiting small wineries is that you almost always meet someone who has an operating interest in the winery. The woman pouring your wine probably just got done sweeping the floor, dusting the tasting room or stocking the shelves. After you leave, she might arrange for bottles and labels for the next bottling. And she has a story. Ask her how the winery got started or if there is any significance to the winery name or the design of their label. She’ll be happy to tell you and you will walk away with some great wines and some great stories.

A Great Time to Visit

The Olympic Peninsula is a show-off in spring. April and May produce a variety of flora not available in other parts of Washington. Just as nature starts its’ growing season, so do the wineries. While not all the Peninsula Wineries are fortunate enough to have acres of vineyards, almost all of them are involved in some sort of agricultural endeavor from flowers to vegetables. Come now and see the Peninsula leap into bloom.