Tasting Through Woodinville: Schoolhouse District

Just a half-mile east of Chateau Ste. Michelle, the old Hollywood Schoolhouse and the surrounding a
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The only tasting room actually situated in the Hollywood Schoolhouse itself is that of Alexandria Nicole Cellars, which recently relocated from the Warehouse District to a dark hideaway tucked into the rustic basement of this building. With rough wood beams and exposed-brick walls, the room opens onto a little brick patio where you can bring a picnic lunch and taste one of the lovely whites that winemaker Jarrod Boyle is becoming known for.
Don’t miss: 2008 Viognier ($20)

J. Bookwalter Tasting Studio, Mark Ryan, Ross Andrew and Pepper Bridge/Amavi
At first glance, this quartet of tasting rooms gives the appearance of a tiny winery strip mall, but we like to think of it as the Schoolhouse’s new addition, each winery with its own vibe. The tasting rooms are surrounded by windows that impart a breeziness as you stroll from one room to the next. Mark Ryan is known for big, rich reds with evocative names such as Dead Horse and Water Witch. Ross Andrew’s whites are stellar, J. Bookwalter’s literary-themed wines are great illustrations of the story of Washington wine, and another long-established eastern Washington winery, Pepper Bridge, has brought its sister label, Amavi, along to the new tasting room. 
Don’t miss: J. Bookwalter 2007 The Protagonist Red Blend ($50); Mark Ryan 2007 Dead Horse ($45); Ross Andrew 2008 Meadow ($16); Pepper Bridge 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon ($55); Amavi 2007 Syrah ($28)
Dusted Valley Vintners and
Gifford Hirlinger Winery
These two Walla Walla wineries opened their Woodinville tasting rooms last year, just across the street from the Hollywood Schoolhouse, in the same little strip mall that houses the Purple Café. Far from the rolling hills south of Walla Walla, the Gifford Hirlinger tasting room features winemaker Mike Berghan’s estate-grown red wines. It’s just a few doors from Dusted Valley Vintners, whose big red wines, such as the Stained-Tooth Syrah, have created a loyal following for winemakers Corey Braunel and Chad Johnson on both sides of the mountains. Both tasting rooms are decorated simply, with bright art on the walls and spaces for private events.
Don’t miss: Dusted Valley 2008 Grenache ($28); Gifford Hirlinger 2008 Stateline Red ($16)

The Carriage House (DeLille)
One of the newest additions to the area is DeLille Cellars, which opened this tasting room in a pale yellow house just down the street from its Woodinville winery and next to Brian Carter Cellars. Compact but charming, the patio is a great place to taste wine in the summer, and award-winning winemaker Chris Upchurch often stops by to chat with customers about his Bordeaux- and Rhône-style wines.
Don’t miss: 2009 Doyenne Rosé ($23)

Brian Carter Cellars
Brian Carter was one of the first to see the potential in the Schoolhouse area when he opened his tasting room. His excellent European Rhône- and Bordeaux-style blends reflect the time Carter takes to create just the right combination of fruit, acidity and tannins. The little yellow house has a patio that’s a delightful place to try his wines and discover your favorite. The tasting room also features local cheeses and other foods. 
Don’t miss: 2007 Oriana White Blend ($20)

Hollywood Hill Vineyards
Just a block from the Hollywood Schoolhouse, this little red house is home to Hollywood Hill’s quaint tasting room, which features Rhone Valley varietals from eastern Washington and estate-grown Pinot Noir and Chardonnay wines produced from grapes grown just south of Woodinville—in the only actual vineyard in the area. Owner and winemaker Steve Snyder is a true “garagiste,” making his wine in a converted garage on his property. He and his wife, Becky, are passionate about French wines and strive to make wines that are more in the Old World style, with lower alcohol content and multiple layers of complexity.
Don’t miss: 2008 Wahluke Slope Malbec ($34)

Goose Ridge and Airfield Estates
These are two of the largest eastern Washington wineries to open tasting rooms in Woodinville (next to each other and across from the Hollywood Schoolhouse). Both are owned by families that have grown grapes for Chateau Ste. Michelle and other wineries for years. Now their own wines are getting noticed, with affordable varietals ranging from Airfield’s tasty, unoaked Chardonnay to Goose Ridge’s big, earthy, estate-grown Syrah. Bringing their shows to Woodinville seemed like the next logical step to allow consumers to know more about their wines—and their eastern Washington wineries.
Don’t miss: Goose Ridge 2005 Sol Duc Meritage ($50); Airfield Estates 2007 Syrah ($18)

Cañon de Sol and Irlandés
A little tasting room among the grander ones, Cañon de Sol and Irlandés share a space next to Goose Ridge and Airfield Estates. The wines are made by  Victor Cruz, the first Latino winemaker and winery owner in the state. His Cañon de Sol Syrah and Bordeaux-style red blends have brought the Wapato-born former engineer notoriety in the Hispanic community and beyond. Jason Sleater’s Irlandés label is a small, limited-release brand. 
Don’t miss: Cañon de Sol 2006 Meritage ($28) 

Originally published in August 2010