I try to remind everyone I meet that I consider myself a musician first and a travel writer second. But it gets confusing because the two industries overlap so much. For instance, Elizabeth Seward, the musician, loves her wine. Elizabeth Seward, the travel writer, also loves her wine. I’ve been collecting wine tastings like stamps throughout the last year and proudly highlighting my favorite wines as they come pouring in. I fell in love with Riesling on a wine trip along the Mosel river in Germany in June. I remembered just why northern California wines are famous while exploring vineyards in San Mateo county in April. But I never expected to find new favorite wines in Spokane, Washington. For a wine-sipping, Scrabble-playing, story-telling, antique-appreciator…I’m kind of young. So maybe I’m naive. Maybe that’s why I didn’t have a clue about Spokane’s wines until going there to try them myself because apparently, Washington state is the USA’s 2nd top exporter of wines and I hadn’t a clue.
Whitestone’s grounds, Ben Torbin
In Spokane, it’s very important to use the term ‘wineries’ rather than ‘vineyards’ when speaking specifically of the Spokane region. The area boasts around 15 successful wine collections, but the grapes for these wines are primarily grown southwest of Spokane. The grapes are typically brought back to Spokane for fermentation after they’ve been harvested outside of the region. But some in the business would argue to you that the magic only occurs post-harvest; that a grape is a grape is a grape. While I’m sure all of the wines out of this area are delightful in their own ways, I have four new favorite labels I’ll be looking out for…or…well, ordering online.
Robert Karl Winery
What happens when two attorneys start making wine on the side, starting from an over-the-counter DIY kit and build from there? Barrister wines is what happens. It’s not just the name, I swear, but ‘Rough Justice’ is my favorite wine from these fellas. It’s a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cab Franc, and Syrah. You should order it online. But if you’re ever in Spokane, make sure you stop by their winery on the first Friday of a month. Every first Friday, they feature a showing of a local artist’s work, followed by blues music. Yes, I will play there some Friday night, some day.
My favorite wine from this Spokane winery is also a blend. ‘Piece of Red’ accompanied me back to my hotel one evening in Spokane, made it to my bed, and was gone before I could realize what happened. It’s just that delicious.
ROBERT KARL WINERY
Yet another delicious wine-maker right in the heart of Spokane. I suggest you try the Rose.
ARBOR CREST WINERY
Not to be confused with Arbor Mist. Ever. Snuggled onto a cliffside in Spokane, the beautiful grounds for this winery happen to also be party central in Spokane on Sunday evenings during the summer months. Locals pay a small fee to enter the grounds with their picnic baskets and blankets and enjoy the wine alongside some live music and food hot off the grill if they prefer. I recommend the Riesling and Huckleberry ice cream. Together if you like.
Arbor Crest Winery
By: Elizabeth Seward