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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Our Community Joined Together for a Greater Good and it was “MAGICAL”
The Event: David Davinci
On May 3rd Oak Harbor, Washington welcomed a particularly unique traveler to our shores with promises of mind-bending illusions and thrilling prestidigitation. Great anticipation brought over 450 people to fill every seat in the Oak Harbor High School auditorium. When the doors closed and lights dimmed breathless wonder filled every soul and what happened that night within those four walls can only be described as “magic.”
The Thrillusionist David DaVinci did not disappoint on his assurances to the Whidbey Island community. Every moment of his performance was packed with excitement and mystic, capturing the attention of everyone in the room.
The Purpose: Raise Funds For the Oak Harbor Boys and Girls Club
Brought to the island by Windermere Whidbey, David DaVinci’s performance was a charity event to raise money for the local Boys and Girls Club. We are ecstatic to announce the show was an overwhelming success in raising over $5,300! Tickets sold out the day and the auditorium was PACKED.
So, THANK YOU!
If you missed out on this amazing performance, don’t be down hearted! DaVinci will return next year with another shocking display of his master illusionary. Watch David Davinci Here.
History of the Penn Cove Mussel Fest
Every city or county has that one thing they are famous for. Their claim to fame that puts them on the world map. For some it’s a world-famous sports team, others it’s a historical location, still some gain fame from the presence of rare exotic animals.
For Island County, it’s our mussels.
You may not know this, but Island county is home to the oldest and largest mussel farm in the United States (and maybe the world). Penn Cove Mussels, Inc. began culturing mussels in 1975 with the desire to harness the cove’s naturally nutrient rich water to harvest bigger and better mussels than the ones currently available. The results were incredible! Penn Cove mussels grow at a remarkable rate, enabling the mussels to reach harvest size within one year. This rapid growth rate causes Penn Cove mussels to have a firmer texture, sweeter flavor, and a thinner shell with more meat. As you can imagine, it makes them quite a crowd pleaser.
Whidbey Island’s proximity to Seattle and the Sea-Tac Airport mean these wonderful shellfish don’t have to be a local secret. Instead, these mussels are quickly air shipped all over the world for others to experience and enjoy. Mussels harvested in the morning are on the lunch plates of Seattle seafood lovers by that afternoon and dinner entrees in Houston by the evening.
This year Coupeville celebrated their 33rd Annual Musselfest.
A little different from the original mussel chowder contest, todays Musselfest included 3 days’ worth of activities and fun. The event attracted more than 6,000 from far and wide which helps local merchants recover from the slow winter months.
Musselfest festivities kicks off on a Friday with the “Mussel Mingle.” This is a time where people gather at the Coupeville Recreational Hall to enjoy food, drink, and music. The next two days are packed full of mussel cooking demonstrations from incredible Seattle chefs, the massive mussel chowder competition involving 16 different local restaurants, the mussel eating competition, tours of Penn Cove Shellfish, Inc., a mountain bike event (“Mussels in the Kettles”) and more!
Musselfest is a massive community affair that requires all hands-on deck to pull off. Dozens of volunteers from all over Coupeville donate their time, finances, and resources to make this festival work. For the past few years Windermere Whidbey agents have volunteered their time at the Waterfront Beer Garden where they serve up some great local ale while listening to amazing local musicians.
We can’t wait to see you there next year!
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O’ Christmas Tree, O’ Christmas Tree how ever did you come to be?
Every year around this time families all over America participate in the annual ritual of putting up the Christmas Tree. Laughter, joy, wonder (and sometimes a little fighting) ensue as we pack ourselves into the car and drive to our nearest tree farm (or store) to find the perfect tree. Have you ever looked at the gleaming lights against those evergreen needles and wonder why we do this?
The truth is humans have been decorating their homes with evergreens for as long as historians can tell. It’s believed the evergreen pine’s ability to survive the coldest of winters served as a reminder that one day spring would come and the world would be green again. The custom was especially resilient in Germany where many continued to decorate their homes with these trees well into and past the renaissance era. It is even believed that the Protestant reformer, Martin Luther, was the first to place lit candles on this winter tree.
The Christmas Tree, as it’s known today, really gained popularity during the reign of Queen Victoria. Victoria’s German husband, Albert, brought the tradition of the evergreen tree into Buckingham Palace and caught the attention of the entire world. Soon there was not a home in all of Europe or America without a Christmas tree donned with ornaments and lights.
Want to know where you can get that perfect tree? Below is a list of local farms and stores that can help!
Pacific Wind Tree Farms – 2870 N Torpedo Road, Oak Harbor
Ready for some family fun? Pacific Winds Farms has been beloved local Christmas Tree farm for generations. You have the option between looking through precut trees place conveniently close to the entrance or you can brave the forest, saw in hand, and put those high school woodshop skills to work! While friendly staff help to bind your tree, feel free to visit the gift shop and sip on some fresh hot coco and cider. They will be open Tuesday – Sunday from 10am – 6pm.
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A Knot in Thyme – 4233 DeGraff Road, Oak Harbor
When you drive up to A Knot in Thyme you might just feel like you fell into history. The gift shop’s vintage green farm building has a warm rustic charm and the horse drawn wagon adds a romantic feel to exploring the 60-year-old groves. Be sure to ask the store clerk about their “Kissing Balls” and grab an ornament or two to go on your brand-new tree! They are open Monday – Saturday from 9am – 5pm.
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Oak Harbor Lion’s Club – 32630 WA-20, Oak Harbor
You may notice every year, directly after Thanksgiving, the patch of forest next to the Chamber of Commerce gains a few more trees. That is because Oak Harbor’s Lions club pitches up tent there every year to sell Christmas trees! The club sells trees of all kinds from to the public through their pop-up shop and all their proceeds go to their non-profit. It’s a great way to get a tree and give back this holiday season! They will sell every day from 10am – 7pm until every tree has a home.
Hennrich Tree Farm – 1650 Hastie Lake Road, Oak Harbor
Want a winter weekend adventure? The surrounding forestry at Hennrich Tree Farms makes your tree hunt feel an adventurous nature walk. Breathe in the fresh air and let your wild side out as you forage for your perfect tree. Hennrich opens their doors December 1st and are open every Saturday and Sunday from 10am – 5pm while supplies last.
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