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!
You Might Also Like:
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!
You Might Also Like:
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!
You might also like:
Get Your Ghoul on:
Whidbey Island Style
If you have found yourself strolling the streets of Coupeville recently, you might have noticed some spooky spirits lurking about. Don’t worry! These ghouls aren’t out to get you but instead, they welcome in the Halloween season.
View this post on Instagram
October 1st marked the beginning of the annual Haunting of Coupeville. Five years ago the City of Coupeville’s Chamber of Commerce decided the town’s holiday spirit and Spooktacular events deserved an overarching identity.
Thus, The Haunting of Coupeville was born!
Every year from October 1st – 31st the Haunting includes not only fun town decorations but events that are enjoyable for the entire family!
- Enjoy the weekend picking pumpkins and taking trolley rides at Sherman’s Farm; but be careful, the barn is haunted!
- On the 24th Potterhead’s can enjoy a Dark Arts Dinner Party at Front Street Grill complete with appetizers, potions, and maybe even some Butterbeer.
- Enjoy exploring Haunted Fort Casey on the 26th-27th where children are invited to participate in Trick or Treat Lane, games, ghost stories and a bounce house.
- Coupeville’s Great Pumpkin Race on Sunday the 28th serves as a grand finale to the festivities. Watch as participants race their handcrafted pumpkins down front street tin hopes to win the champion trophy.
Young or old, this season holds events that anyone and everyone can enjoy. So get your ghoul on this Hollows Eve in the beautiful town of Coupeville.
View this post on Instagram
For more information about the Haunting of Coupeville visit: www.HauntingOfCoupeville.com
You might also like:
Fourth of July Celebrations on Whidbey Island
Carnivals, parades, BBQ’s, music, and of course huge firework shows make an incredible Fourth of July celebration on Whidbey Island. There are small events up and down the island but the two hot spots for firework shows and lots of activity are Oak Harbor and Freeland.
The celebration begins in Freeland on July 3rd with their annual “Celebrate America” event at Freeland Park. Starting mid-afternoon there will be face painting, bounce houses, music, and live entertainment for you to enjoy! This year the event will feature a magic show, circus tricks, martial arts demonstrations, a dance team, and a Neil Diamond tribute band. At the end of the day, the party will go out with a bang with the largest fireworks show on Whidbey Island beginning around 10:20 pm. For a full schedule of events click here! https://whidbeycamanoislands.com/event/celebrate-america-2018/.
Oak Harbor Celebrations:
In Oak Harbor, Independence Day festivities take over the whole town! The carnival will be open June 29th through July 4th with rides, classic carnival food, games, and so much more! You can purchase your carnival tickets ahead of time here ( https://oakharborchamber.chambermaster.com/eventregistration/register/7591 ) to avoid long lines at the event. On July 4th the party continues with a day that is jam-packed with activities. It all starts with the annual Rotary Pancake Breakfast, grand parade down Bayshore Drive, and throughout the day you will be able to check out the street fair on Pioneer as well as enjoy live music at Smith Park. Finally, to wrap up an eventful day, you won’t want to miss the firework show that starts at dark. (Rumor has it that it will be the tallest show ever!)
We can’t wait to take part in the fun this year! If this is your first year experiencing the bustle to take place on the island, you won’t be disappointed! If you have been, we want to know what your favorite part is!
You might also be interested in: