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Sip, sip, hooray! Wine tasting in Spokane

UPDATED: Tue., Dec. 12, 2017, 10:25 a.m.

The Walla Walla and Yakima valleys are synonymous with wine tasting in Washington state. But Spokane is not to be overlooked.

Here are 10 of the best tasting rooms in Spokane.

Maryhill Winery

This Kendall Yards tasting room, among Spokane’s newest, offers spectacular views of the downtown Spokane skyline and Spokane River – along with more than 60 different wines. The newly built space encompasses about 5,000 square feet and features a set of moveable counter tops fashioned from old wine barrels in both the main tasting room as well as the reserve room. An antique back bar lines the west wall in the reserve room, which also includes a chess nook and those stunning 180-degree views. Craig and Vicki Leuthold, who’ve maintained a residence in Spokane for more than 30 years, founded the winery in 1999 on a bluff overlooking the Columbia River Gorge outside of Goldendale. It debuted its first vintage two years later. Today, Maryhill is one of the larger wineries in Washington, producing about 80,000 cases annually and hosting concerts at its outdoor amphitheater. The tasting room in Spokane is its second location. 1303 W. Summit Parkway, Suite 100. (509) 773-1976. www.maryhillwinery.com.

Barrister Winery

First Friday, Barrister is the place to be. This longtime Spokane winery bustles with art and wine enthusiasts during the regular monthly event, which showcases works from local artists and includes food and wine for purchase. There’s usually a complimentary cheese platter, too. Call ahead to reserve a table for eight. Founded in 2001 by two attorneys, Greg Lipsker and Michael White, Barrister is known for making full-bodied red wines, including its cabernet franc and signature blend Rough Justice. It’s located in a 111-year-old warehouse on the west end of downtown. Wednesday nights in summer, the courtyard fills up for its popular outdoor concert series. There’s no cover charge, and guests are invited to bring picnic-style dinners as well as reserve a table. Barrister also offers a smaller tasting room in the historic Liberty Building in the downtown core. Winery: 1213 W. Railroad Ave. (509) 465 3591. Tasting room: 203 N. Washington St. (509) 413 1090.barristerwinery.com.

Arbor Crest Wine Cellars

Arbor Crest was founded by the Mielke family in 1982. Two years later, they bought the historic Riblet mansion overlooking Spokane Valley and renamed it the Cliff House, where the tasting room is located. The grounds include terraced gardens with rock walls, an oversized checkerboard, vineyards and sweeping views of the Spokane Valley and downtown Spokane. Friday and Saturday nights in fall and winter, there’s live music with no cover. In spring and summer, there are outdoor concerts on Thursday nights for $5 and Sunday nights for $10. Guests can buy wine to accompany their picnics; the winery also has a limited food menu. 4705 N. Fruit Hill Road. (509) 927-9463. www.arborcrest.com.

Townshend Cellar

Located at Green Bluff, Townshend Cellar offers wine tasting in a pastoral setting. Its spacious tasting room features a wall of windows overlooking pine trees and surrounding hillsides. Founded by Don Townshend, the winery now involves his two sons, Brendon and Michael, who redeveloped the former Huckaba Christmas tree farm, including a residence that now houses the tasting room. They produce a variety of red, white, sparkling and dessert wines, and gained success with their acclaimed T3 and Vortex blends. 8022 E. Greenbluff Road. (509) 238-1400. townshendcellar.com.

Terra Blanca Winery

This longtime Benton City-based estate winery opened a tasting room in the Chronicle Building in early 2017. It features high-top tables for two or four people as well as a communal table that can accommodate groups. And, it’s open daily. When the weather’s warm, sit outside in the courtyard anchored by a water fountain and pergola. Owned by Keith and ReNae Pilgrim and founded in 1992, Terra Blanca grows grapes and makes wine on Red Mountain, just west of the Tri-Cities. It offers about 20 varietals in its estate, reserve, Signature Series, Arch Terrace and Onyx collections. The Chronicle Building is part of Cowles Co., which publishes The Spokesman-Review. 926 W. Sprague Ave. Suite 100. (509) 340-9140. terrablanca.com.

Craftsman Cellars

Husband-and-wife Greg and Margo Shelman opened their tasting room two years ago in Kendall Yards, where their focus is on Old World-style reds aged in new French oak. He’s the craftsman and winemaker. She’s the Jill-of-all-trades. He makes wine the way he likes it: red, by hand, low tech. He relies on the power of gravity versus electrical pumps and uses a traditional, cold-soak method. The former pharmacist and furniture maker produces about 575 cases of wine per year. 1194 W. Summit Parkway. (509) 413-2434. craftsmanwinery.com.

Cougar Crest Estate Winery

This Walla Walla-based winery was established in 2001 by Deborah and David Hansen. She’s the winemaker. He’s the vineyard manager. Their intimate downtown Spokane tasting room, run by Rosemary Brasch, offers an ample selection of red wines, including its estate-grown Anniversary Cuvee, tempranillo, malbec and cabernet franc, as well as grenache rose, viognier and Late Harvest viognier. 8 N. Post St. Suite 6. (509) 241-3850. cougarcrestwinery.com.

Tempus Cellars

Winemaker Joe Forest, a Seattle native, and wife Mollie – she’s from Spokane – moved to Walla Walla in 2005 to pursue his passion for wine. They started Tempus a year later and opened a tasting room in downtown Spokane in mid-2017. Tempus is the Latin word for time. It can also be interpreted as “a series of firsts,” according to the winery’s website – which also notes the couple moved to Walla Walla, started new jobs, got their first dog, got married, bought their first home, had their first baby and started their first winery in a short period of time. The repertoire includes grenache, syrah, riesling, merlot, malbec, cabernet sauvignon, a red blend and a reserve red blend. 8 N. Post St., Suite 8. (509) 279-1576. tempuscellars.com.

Helix Wines

The downtown Spokane tasting room for these Walla Walla-based wines, produced by winemaker Chuck Reininger at the family-owned Reininger Winery, opened in fall 2017. Helix wines are stylistically different from the winery’s two other labels: Reininger and CPR. Offerings from all three labels are available at this sleek and intimate tasting room. The Helix series includes cabernet franc, cabernet sauvignon, chardonnay, merlot, petit verdot, sangiovese, syrah, viognier, a southern Rhone blend, a Bordeaux blend and a super-Tuscan blend. 824 W. Sprague Ave. (509) 242-3190. helixwine.com.

Latah Creek Wine Cellars

Founded in 1982 by Mike and Ellena Conway, this longtime local winery produces between 13,000 and 15,000 cases per year. The couple’s only child, Natalie, joined the winemaking team in 2005, launching a reserve red wine program five years later. Latah Creek is perhaps best known for its signature Huckleberry d’Latah. Offerings include riesling, pinot gris, muscat Canelli, rose of malbec, malbec, carmenere, merlot, Ellena’s Sangiovese, Natalie’s Nectar and Mike’s Reserve Red, among others. Ellena Conway is particularly known for her cooking, and her three-volume cookbook is also available for purchase. 13030 E. Indiana Ave. (509) 926-0164. latahcreek.com.