Whidbey Island Wineries & Distilleries
“With intriguing accents of spice and musty earth [and] a gripping mouthful of tannins dance on the lengthy finish.”
These are the words used to describe Spoiled Dog Winery’s Estate Pinot Noir. If you are a fancy wine connoisseur, you probably knew what all of those words meant. Or maybe that entire sentence was gibberish to you.
Luckily, expertise is not a requirement for enjoyment when it comes to wine. This is evident annually with the “Autumn on Whidbey Tour” when people from all over and with all levels of wine knowledge flood the tasting rooms of local wineries to make memories. The tour is filled with friends having fun, amazing wine, and local art displayed in every tasting room.
Hosted by the Whidbey Island Vintners and Distillers Association, this year’s Autumn on Whidbey tour is widening it’s horizons by also including some local spirits! This expansion helps to include individuals interested in participating, but not really interested in wine. It also provides recognition and traffic to some pretty great local distilleries.
Below are some of the Wineries and Distilleries participating in this year’s tour that we had the pleasure of visiting:
Holmes Harbor Cellars
When you think of vineyards and wine tours, do you think of gorgeous Italian villas overlooking expansive acres of grape vines? If so, Holmes Harbor is the place for you! This locally owned winery opened its doors in 2008 with the hope of blending art and science to create some of the most incredible wines on Whidbey. This blend is evident both in their wine and in their tasting room which has the facade of a beautiful authentic villa while proudly displaying their fermentation tanks within. You can’t help but feel like you are about to have the best weekend of your life when you enter this incredible space.
Mutiny Bay Distillery
You are going to LOVE this mom, pop, and son distillery. After retiring as pharmacists Rod and Kathy Stallman utilized their deep understanding of chemistry to create spirits that ignite your imagination. With the engineering innovations of their son Scott, this trio created what can only be described as a dream line of liquor distilled from almost exclusively local ingredients. Their love and passion for their craft is evident from the moment you enter the tasting room. They love walking people through their selection of spirits and their process. You do not want to miss this stop on the tour!
Spoiled Dog Winery
As one of the most established and favorited wineries on the island, Spoiled Dog is without doubt a real treat to visit. Approaching the property guests are enveloped in trees that open suddenly to acres of vineyards and one of the most charming farm style buildings on Whidbey. Walking in one is immediately met by friendly tasting room staff standing in front of countless barrels of aging wine. The staff are knowledgeable and eager to help. Their selection is incredible and nothing beats the view of the vineyard with tall evergreens in the background.
This year’s Autumn on Whidbey Tour is November 9-10. Tickets can be purchased in advance for $25 or $30 day of the event. You can purchase yours here!
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How the Whidbey Working Artists Began:
In the early 2000s Whidbey Island was a community buzzing with potential and truly coming into its unique identity as an island full of diversity. During this time a small group of North Whidbey artists decided to band together to draw attention to the island’s ever-growing artist community. Thus Whidbey Working Artists was born!
Since 2004 these artists have been opening their studios once or twice a year for the general public to come, explore, and learn about the process of creating beauty. As these tours gained in popularity more and more artists have been included on their roster and today the tour now spans across the whole of Whidbey! Today, Whidbey Working Artists includes over 70 artists working across multiple mediums.
But why open their studios? Their website says it best:
As an organization we believe that opening our studios offers visitors the opportunity to share in the process of how art is created and a glimpse of how artists inhabit their creative space. This shared experience between artists and visitors provides a stimulating creative conversation that enhances the arts while also educating and developing an appreciation for the handcrafted.
This year’s summer tours are scheduled for August 24th & 25th from 10 AM to 5 PM. Come watch as painters manipulate the pigments on their canvas to just the perfect shade of purple, or welders bend metals into shape you never dreamed they could, or watch craftsmen reveal a magnificent creature from beneath the bark of a tree stump.
See below for an interactive tour of each artist’s studio!
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