Growth In Washington Wine Country
Washington Wine Country has seen enormous growth in recent years. No longer the exception, but now the rule, Eastern and Western Washington continue to see new wineries and distilleries popping up everywhere - 600+ wineries in Washington alone. Benton City, Washington is no exception. Driving through you may notice a few orchards and a few vineyards, but nothing out of the ordinary for Eastern Washington landscape. Now, using a trained eye (and of course, a map), take a second look. Benton City and the Tri-Cities area are littered with fantastic wineries ( score!). We took to google, rounded up a driver, and were very quickly on our way. A quick aside, there are loads of car companies which are very reasonably priced available for touring.
Terra Blanca Winery & Estate Vineyard sits above rows and rows of grapes overlooking the valley, is a beautiful facility, and the pouring staff could not have been more accommodating (our driver was great on the road, not so much with the camera!)
Cooper Winery was very relaxed (compared to the estate setting of Terra Blanca), the tasting room inside a wide open barn was fantastic. The entrance to the barn is flanked with towering rows of barrels, and their friendly chocolate lab, Bud, made for a friendly welcome. The wine was great - our group loved their 2009 Pinot Gris.
Now for our "diamond in the rough." Located one driveway, and a jog over from Fedelitas we noticed a hand-painted sign which read "Old School Wine Tasting" featuring a haggard arrow, and dangerously sharp edges. Our kind of place! Bumping down the unpaved road, we passed acres (literally) of abandoned barrels, fruit crates, and what we assumed to be a graveyard of old, non-working equipment. Once the driveway dust settled, we found ourselves standing in front of one of Washington's pioneer wineries - Blackwood Canyon.
The grounds and tasting room are as eccentric as the wine maker himself. The adage is true - do not judge a book by it's cover. This was undoubtably the best wine we tasted all day. Head winemaker and owner M. Taylor Moore is a Washington wine legend, and locally coined "the crazy wine guy." We learned more in our time there than we had all day. The wine was beautiful, the setting was dark, and if you're scared of dungeons...you may want to wait outside.
A dear friend Chanel Turner with M. Taylor Moore, owner Blackwood Canyon.
For more information, there are loads of great Tri-Cities area tasting destinations...the trouble is in the choosing! We used this site along with referrals to get the ball rolling.