Updating on our previous post, Walla Walla, Woodinville Woodinville, Katie Sims of Long Shadows Wineries has confirmed that they are indeed opening up a tasting room in Woodinville of the Hollywood School House. As Shona Milne of the Woodinville Wine Update noted, when she first broke the news, the estimated opening will likely be in late summer.
Walla Walla is nearly 300 miles and a four hour drive away from Seattle but you wouldn’t know if you’ve been wine tasting in Woodinville lately. On the heels of Pepperbridge and Amavi’s soft opening of their Woodinville tasting room, one WA wine blogger reports that another Walla Walla producer may also be heading west. Over at Woodinville Wine Update, Shona Milne is reporting that Long Shadows may soon open up a tasting room at the Hollywood School House. While there has been no confirmation yet from Long Shadows’ public relations contact, Katie Sims, this news is definitely following the trend of Eastern Washington wineries opening up satellite tasting rooms in the Seattle area.
And why not? It certainly makes good business sense to tap into the Woodinville wine boom. The area receives over half a million visitors a year and is less than a hour’s drive away from most of the nearly 4 million people that live in the Seattle-Tacoma Metropolitan area. Despite the economic downturn of 2009, the Woodinville wine industry reported nearly $3 million in revenue.
The growth of the Woodinville wine industry offers Seattle wine lovers easier access to world class Washington wines, even when many wineries scale back on distribution to wine shops, restaurants and grocery stores during the recession, (see Isenhower for example). For wine club members, local satellite tasting rooms mean huge savings in shipping costs as well as release party events that let you pick up and taste your club selections.
It is an exciting time to be a Washington wine lover in Seattle. If Long Shadows’ plan does come to fruition, we can wonder which big name Walla Walla producer will be the next to head west. Dunham? Nicolas Cole? Abeja? K Vintners? Reininger?
If you want the Walla Walla, Woodinville Woodinville experience check out the local tasting rooms of these great producers!
14465 Woodinville-Redmond Rd.NE
Woodinville, WA 98072 (425) 488-7373
Daily: 12 – 5pm
At Silver Lake
15029 Woodinville-Redmond Rd
Woodinville, WA, 98072 (425) 485-2437 x109
Monday thru Sat: 11 – 5pm
Sunday: Noon – 5pm
14469 Woodinville-Redmond Rd
Woodinville, WA 98072 (425) 486-2626
Thursday thru Monday: Noon – 5pm
15007 Woodinville-Redmond Rd., Suite A
Woodinville, WA 98072 (425) 488-2299
Friday thru Sunday: Noon – 5pm
Apple Farm Village
14525 148th Ave. NE, Ste 111
Woodinville, WA 98027 (425) 949-7865
Friday thru Sunday: Noon – 5 pm
Apple Farm Village
14525 148th Ave NE, Ste 114
Woodinville, WA 98027 (541) 938-9463
Thursday thru Sunday: Noon – 6pm
According to the Seattle Times, Starbucks has announced plans to open up another “coffee theater” location that will serve wine and beer along with your “Venti full caf non fat latte no whip”. This location, at 1600 E. Olive Way in Capitol Hill, follows in the footsteps of its stealth predecessors 15th Avenue Coffee and Tea and Roy Street Coffee and Tea in offering the “non-Starbucks” Starbucks experience. The idea is to make Starbucks relevant after 11am by offering Seattle’s coffee-saturated citizens another option for their evening entertainment with locations offering live music and more . The segway to serving wine, beer and small plates seems like a natural extension to this concept. Or is it?
They say you can’t serve two masters and Starbucks will always be, first and foremost, a coffee shop rather than a wine bar. While the idea of serving wine is trendy, it, nonetheless, will still be the ugly red-headed step child of the bunch. Take a look at the websites for the current “coffee theater” locations and try to find anything wine related and good luck trying to find a wine list. Considering the difficulties that baristas often have in dealing with coffee orders, how much training do you think the staff get in wine service and knowledge? A reader’s blog over at Seattle PI posted an experience at the 15th Ave location where the barista had troubles recognizing that an order for a “Powers Cab” meant that the blogger wanted a glass of Washington wine. Now it is completely snobbish to expect everyone to know that “Cab” is shorthand wine-speak for Cabernet Sauvignon or that Zinfandel is actually a red wine grape but it is a fair expectation to have when going to a wine selling establishment.
I know that Starbucks is not trying to be a wine bar per se, and restaurants have their litany of wine service flaws too, but Starbucks is certainly positioning these locations as afternoon and evening hang outs for upscale urbanites. They are expecting wine drinkers to patronize these location precisely because they are serving wine as part of this new “coffee theater” concept-an idea that isn’t really new at all (See Victrola). Victrola, which has been serving wine and beer for years, is actually an interesting case study in coffee houses selling wine. While Victrola’s wine list is a serviceable compilation of local Washington wines mixed with other offerings, and the staff tends to be at least knowledge about what they are pouring, it is definitely a distant second fiddle to their main business of selling coffee. That is not necessarily a bad thing but, the point is, if you are going to Victrola, you are still going for the coffee and not for the wine.
Seattle is blessed with a treasure trove of great local coffee establishments as well as great local wine bars (See Vermillion, Grand Cru, Portalis, Vino Bello, Grape Adventure, among many others), but do we really need to mix the two? Sometimes combing two great things can be like a cooking experiment gone awry. While bacon and ice cream turned out awesome, beef jerky and ice cream not so much.
What do you think? Do you want to see more wine at your coffee shops?