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Woodinville's Hidden Vineyard

Worried going local means going dry? Hollywood Hill Vineyards has your solution.

It seems these days a growing number of people are moving toward a more sustainable lifestyle focused on living as a locavore. The good news, nay, the great news is Woodinville is perfectly situated for locavore living (trust me; this comes from a native Oklahoman). You’ll find just about whatever you have on your shopping list, from meat to fruits and veggies. And, of course, you can find Washington wine around here just about as easily as a place that’ll serve you a latte.

But let’s say you’re ready for an even greater challenge.  You want to be a hyperlocavore, but you don’t want to up your stemware to do it. And why should you when you can get wine made in Woodinville from grapes grown in Woodinville?

That’s right; the vineyards in Eastern Washington may bask in the plant-nourishing rays of the sun more than their counterparts on this side of the Cascades, but don’t count Woodinville out as a grape growing community.

owner and winemaker, Steve Snyder has been growing grapes in Woodinville since 2004. The cooler, wetter Woodinville weather meant he needed to plant a vineyard with varieties known for early ripening or being disease resistant. So he selected pinot noir and chardonnay.  Meaning when you’re looking for a wine to pour with your hyperlocal meal, you even get a choice of red or white.

Steve got his start in the world of D.I.Y. beverage production as a home-brewer. And along with the many other wonderful changes the exchange of wedding vows has a tendency to set in motion, Steve switched his hobby from brewing up brewskis to making wine instead, beginning with the vineyard he planted in his Bellevue backyard garden.

His amateur phase lasted 12 years, moving from his backyard to the unexpected project of revitalizing an abandoned vineyard discovered on Vashon Island until he ultimately settled on Hollywood Hill where he now has one and a quarter mature acres of vines and another quarter of an acre he’ll finish planting this spring.

Not all the grapes are grown in Woodinville, Steve still gets grapes grown inEastern Washington for some of his some of wines. Whether grown in the Puget Sound region or east of the mountains, Steve’s emphasis is on the grape. To him, 80% of the work going into the wine you’re going to drink is in the growing of the fruit.

“Most of the flavors have set into the grapes from the vineyard, the region and climate of the vineyard and not in the winemaking process,” he said.

Though the physical location makes Hollywood Hill Vineyards part of the New World, Steve embraces an Old World style in his winemaking, favoring lighter styles with a European flair.

“I’m trying to express the terroir of the local region. Most of our wines are from southern French influence,” he said.

In addition to the two varietals Steve grows in Woodinville, next week he is releasing another Puget Sound wine, Regent (grown on Key Peninsula).  One of a select number of growers to receive a few vines to plant of this new German grape that is highly disease-resistant, Hollywood Hill Vineyards is the first winery in the United States to bottle a 100% Regent.

Recently, the Herbfarm bought up Hollywood Hill Vineyards’ remaining cases of its 2009 Joyeuse when sourcing red wine to serve with the upcoming 100-mile diet menu in August. The nearest vineyards in Eastern Washington - where most of the state’s red grapes are grown - are outside the 100-mile radius.

It’s a good sign when demand for locally-produced goods goes up, Steve said. Currently the Woodinville vineyard produces about 150 cases of pinot noir and chardonnay combined but plans are in the works to double that amount, he added.

So whether you’re looking for a local or an extremely local wine, check out Hollywood Hill Vineyard. With the simple act of purchasing a bottle, you support your local community and economy, reduce your carbon footprint (especially if you usually prefer imported European wine) and contribute to the cumulative efforts of those who, like you, are also taking steps toward preserving the only planet we know supports our existence.

I’ll raise a glass to that any day.

Wine Events: March 25 – 31

Friday, March 25

  • , 16116 140th Pl NE, hosts Friday Night Live featuring complimentary appetizers, live music by a local musician and their current releases starting at $6 a glass from 7 – 9 p.m. in the tasting room and cellar.

Saturday, March 26

  • , 14360 160th Place NE, celebrates the release of its 2008 Columbia Valley Reckoning. Come try this flagship blend from noon – 4:30 p.m. 
  • , 19501 144th Avenue NW, Suite D300, is pairing a different cheese with each wine on Saturday, 1 – 5 p.m.
  • , 19501 144th Ave NE, Suite D700, has a pasta bar in the tasting room from 1 – 5 p.m.
  • , 14344 Woodinville-Redmond Road NE, invites you to the Can’t Wait for Summer party from 1 – 6 p.m. Don your best Hawaiian shirt and come enjoy appetizers, party favors and $6 glass pours.
  • Kestrel Vintners, 19501 144th Ave NE C900, offers you the chance to meet local artist, Steven Wellendorf, whose artwork will be on display at the winery for the month of April, from 1 – 5 p.m.   
  • , 17721 132nd Ave NE, hosts a morning of wine infused cupcakes during a complimentary baking demo from 11 a.m. – noon with wine tasting opportunity to follow ($5 tasting fee, waived with purchase). Limited to first 20 participants. RSVP to abby@frenchranges.com or 425-806-9426.

Wednesday, March 30

  • , 15608 NE Woodinville-Duvall Rd, hosts the weekly Wine Wednesday event from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. This week owner/winemaker Kevin Correll of Barrage Cellars will be pouring a selection of his red and white wines, including the unreleased 2008 Stealth Red Blend. $15 also includes a selection of classic Italianissimo appetizers.
Brenda Vanderloop March 25, 2011 at 07:21 PM
Congratulations to Hollywood Hills Vineyards, for being one of the ONLY two Woodinville area wineries that are actually "Salmon Safe" certified and can be labeled sustainably grown!
karl leaverton March 26, 2011 at 04:32 PM
All of Steve's wines are outstanding! If they have any of the 09 Pinot Noir left, it should be grabbed up. Absolute Burgundian in style.

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