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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Tuesday, March 31, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Spokane’s Cork District tours offer a true Washington wine experience

This is the Cougar Crest Estate Winery 2016 Albarino, a white varietal originating in Spain. (Jesse Tinsley / The Spokesman-Review)
This is the Cougar Crest Estate Winery 2016 Albarino, a white varietal originating in Spain. (Jesse Tinsley / The Spokesman-Review)
By Michael Allen For The Spokesman-Review

Editor’s note: Michael Allen is the director of Spokane’s Cork District. In this guest column, he shares different ways of experiencing Spokane’s wineries and tasting rooms.

Wine tasting has changed over the past 10 years. For a long time, wine tasting meant estate wine tasting in that you drove from place to place. Sometimes it would be quite a distance and take up a large chunk of time.

Then as rules changed and a winery could have more than one tasting room, you started to see tasting room clusters develop. One of the first was in Woodinville, and, over the past decade, Spokane has seen several tasting rooms open to complement our home-grown wineries.

Spokane now has 22 tasting rooms, and together they are known as Spokane’s Cork District. The district is focused in the urban core of downtown Spokane and features 16 award-winning wineries most within walking distance of one another. The district also features wineries in Green Bluff, Spokane Valley, Liberty Lake and on the South Hill.

Core Tour

It’s rare to have six tasting rooms in a couple of blocks in an urban core, but Spokane has it. The Core Tour features wineries from Red Mountain and Walla Walla. The wineries are Va Piano, Cougar Crest, Tempus Cellars, Helix Wines, Renegade by MonteScarlatto and Terra Blanca. Don’t forget to pair your wine with one of the amazing restaurants downtown.

SoDo Tour

Want a great wine tour and to experience amazing, restored old Spokane buildings? This is the tour for you. Start on the east side of downtown with the Tuscan feel of V du V. Then work your way west to the recently renovated Bridge Press, who has one of the coolest tasting rooms you’ll find, plus a new ballroom and live event venue.

Then onto Robert Karl, who is located in one of the first non-wood firehouses in Spokane. Next up is Overbluff Cellars in the restored Washington Cracker Building, followed by the quaint Italian feel of Barili Cellars. Finally cap your tour at Barrister Winery and its beautifully restored warehouse and production facility.

Centennial Tour

Want wine paired with a walk in the park? Here it is. Start in Kendall Yards at the Maryhill tasting room. Be sure to sit outside or get a window seat for an incredible view of Spokane and the river gorge.

Then stroll across the street to Craftsman Cellars for a sip. Notice that all the woodwork was done by the winemaker, too, hence Craftsman. Next walk the Centennial Trail through the park and over to the Auntie’s Bookstore building, where you will find the Barrister tasting room.

Green Bluff to South Hill Tour

This is a driving tour. It’s very scenic and features some of oldest wineries in the area. Start at the top. Townshend Cellar in Green Bluff features a spacious tasting room with a view of the bluff’s orchards. Just down the road, you will find Arbor Crest and its stunning estate with an unmatched view of Spokane Valley.

Then descend into the valley and stop by Nodland Cellars and close by it the newly remodeled Latah Creek tasting room and production facility. Next onto Liberty Lake Wine Cellars and its new tasting room and production facility. Finally, head up South Hill to Winescape Winery and enjoy a taste and the farm-like setting on Moran Prairie.

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