Spokane, WA is home to an eclectic selection of wineries and tasting rooms. Come along to explore Washington’s Spokane wine country.
Spokane, WA, a veritable cityscape straddling the line between urban and rural, is a playground for the cosmopolitan people—yours truly included—and the avid outdoor adventurer. The city offers visitors and locals the opportunity to partake in various activities, from shopping to hiking to basketball. Many people don’t know that Spokane wine country is one of Washington’s best-kept secrets.
All things wine are beloved worldwide both professionally and for pleasure: tasting, purchasing, and collecting, each one a popular pastime. In Washington cities, such as Walla Walla and Woodinville, wine is very much in vogue. In Spokane (often referred to as the Lilac City), there is a winery or tasting room to suit a variety of personalities and preferences.
With such an eclectic selection, knowing which experience is right for you can be difficult, especially if you’re only passing through and have no prior knowledge of the area. Fortunately, I had the opportunity to visit thirteen of Spokane’s prime locations, enjoying the wine, food, atmosphere, company, and, most importantly, the experience each has to offer. I guarantee you’ll have just as fabulous a time. What are you waiting for? Pour a glass of your current go-to wine, read on, and discover Spokane wine country.
Latah Creek Wine Cellars is one of many Spokane Wineries
My mission began with a visit to Latah Creek Wine Cellars, a combination of a tasting room, production facility, and mercantile. The tasting room includes indoor and outdoor seating, inviting guests to relax in a covered garden surrounded by green foliage and charming ornamentation.
Latah Creek’s wine flight includes five pours of your choice with the option for a sixth pour from the tasting room’s rotation. My personal favorite for the afternoon was the 2021 Orange Moscato. It was a refreshing glass boasting floral aromas and flavors of mandarin and marmalade, perfect on such a hot day. In addition to operating as a tasting room, Latah also functions as a gift shop. Wine tasting and shopping? How could I not visit?
Arbor Crest Wine Cellars
Above Spokane sits Arbor Crest Wine Cellars, a picturesque estate overlooking the city. Complete with private gazebos, picnic seating, and romantic private nooks, the view from the cliffside is worth the visit on its own. However, I was there to taste; and taste, I did!
I recommend trying a flight of your choice—red, white, and mixed are all offered. An exciting selection of appetizers is available, including charcuterie, hummus, fries, and naan. Each offering added an assortment of flavors to complement your winetasting.
The 2021 Pinot Gris and the shrimp gyro made with lemon and lemon pepper produced an incredibly delicious combination. The acid and heat from the spices enhanced the flavor of the otherwise mild shrimp without muting the wine’s subtle citrus and fruit notes.
Maryhill Winery Another Fabulous Spokane Winery
Located in Spokane’s premier urban neighborhood, Kendall Yards, Maryhill Winery sits across from downtown Spokane and overlooks the Spokane River. In addition to the rotating flights, selection of wine pours, and collection of bottles, Maryhill offers a full menu complete with appetizers, entrees, and desserts.
Happy to taste a little bit of everything, I enjoyed the cheese board and hummus plate with the featured flight of sparkling, red, and white wines. I followed that with a glass—or two—of the 2020 Rosé of Sangiovese, a crisp wine bursting with flavors of strawberry and peach. I rarely leave the tasting room without a bottle. My kill this visit?—a bottle of the 2020 Rosé of Sangiovese mentioned above.
Thomas Clare Cellars
The new kid on the block is Thomas Clare Cellars, a favorite among the locals. They appreciate the personable service, casual atmosphere, and small business vibe generated from this tasting room on the north side of Spokane.
With a selection of wines from the usual cabernet sauvignon to the unusual Carmenere, I enjoyed a flight of four, favoring the chocolatey and fruity 2019 Merlot. I anticipate a few more years in the bottle will allow these flavors to smooth and mellow, rounding out the taste and adding additional layers of flavor.
Vino! A Wine Shop
For a little bit of everything and the option to taste almost anything, Vino! A Wine Shop offers a vast selection of bottles for sale from across the inland northwest and the opportunity to sample many of the city’s wines. Vino! hosts a “drop-in tasting” every Friday and Saturday, featuring a different winery and/or a different theme for every tasting. On a recommendation, I purchased a bottle of Winescape’s 2020 Riesling. The flavors of apple and melon, along with the fluttery citrus notes, were enough to convince me to pass that recommendation on to anyone who appreciates a light, dry white.
Intimate and boutique, Helix Wines forgoes the frills and flash to focus on the wine. They sell vintages and varieties from the Helix label and Reininger Winery, located in Walla Walla, WA. Composing a flight representative of Helix and Reininger’s vast selection, I sampled the white varieties, including chardonnay, and the red varieties, including cabernet sauvignon.
Helix is prepared to provide wine for every guest and every taste. I especially enjoyed the 2018 SoRhô. It boasted a fruity and fresh blend of grenache, cinsault, and mourvèdre—a red that is appropriate to enjoy on a warm summer day.
When visiting the Kendall Yards neighborhood in Spokane, the savvy wine enthusiast must pay a visit to Craftsman Cellars. Craftsman approaches wine with an appreciation for the art of winemaking and the science. Craftsman Cellars fashions bottles with a specific intention toward innovation.
One wine I highly recommend is the 2016 Left Bank Red Wine Blend, a traditional Bordeaux blend of cabernet sauvignon, merlot, cabernet franc, and malbec. It showcases a rainbow of flavors representative of the classic combination, including licorice, blackberry, and chocolate.
To enter Terra Blanca is to step into a tasting room that somehow manages to be both timeless and trendy. The space showcases art from local artists on a monthly rotation. Every seat in the house gives you a view of Spokane’s downtown district. From my seat inside, the floor-to-ceiling windows let in enough sun to fill the room with natural light without letting in the summer heat, which was a relief for me and Terra Blanca’s wines.
I was excited to try one of the winery’s cool whites on a warm day. I instantly fell in love with the 2019 Signature Series VRM, a traditional blend of viognier, Roussanne, and Marsanne, showcasing subtle notes of rose and citrus and crisp hints of apricot and peach.
Winescape is a Delicious Spokane Winery
Wielding an expert sense of hospitality in one hand and an infectious dose of personality in the other, Winescape is an escape for anyone looking to experience a pleasant and personable wine tasting on Spokane’s South Hill. The staff is exceptionally passionate and knowledgeable. Each provided me with an enjoyable conversation and a good glass of wine.
The owners at Winescape appreciate and value their wine club members. They honor their members by regularly offering them access to exclusive bottles and events. I admit that the temptation to join the club was intense. I recommend trying the 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon from Red Mountain for a bold expression of earth and spice fringed with hints of red fruit.
Townshend Cellar is the place for anyone interested in wine as a finished product and wine as a work in progress. My tasting took place in the production facility of the winery, where the magic of winemaking happens.
In the afternoon, I savored a tasting in the production facility and better understood what goes into each glass. The winery offers refillable bottles, called “Wowlers,” that you can refill anytime during any visit. I suggest trying a glass or filling a Wowler, depending on what’s on tap, with the Diamond Reserve. This red wine crafted in the customary Bordeaux style sports layers of flavors, including plum, dried fruit, and vanilla. As for me, I left with the bottle because, after all, diamonds are a girl’s best friend.
Liberty Lake Wine Cellars
Liberty Lake Wine Cellars is an official Washington winery to watch, and for a good reason. Boutique with big plans, the winery specializes in making bold reds along with a selection of red and white wines. Open weekends, I made my way to the tasting room on a Friday and spent a few hours sampling the featured wines and enjoying a glass of bubbles. I especially enjoyed the 2019 Gewurztraminer, a white from Red Mountain boasting perfume aromas and subtle notes of grapefruit, which not only tastes marvelous in the glass but looks fabulous in my wine rack.
A small winery with a big passion for wine, Barili Cellars keeps its operation limited, devoting itself entirely to ensuring that every bottle produced is unique and indicative of the brand. My favorite was the 2018 Double Barrel Red, blended from cabernet sauvignon and syrah. The wine showcased black cherry notes from the cabernet and hints of peppercorn from the syrah. The winery is open exclusively on the second Saturday of the month, so I made sure not to miss my appointment in the downtown tasting room.
Cougar Crest Winery
Another downtown location I recommend for an intimate, not to mention interactive, wine tasting is Cougar Crest Winery. The winery is a satellite tasting room of the estate winery located in Walla Walla, WA., and is within walking distance of several tasting rooms, restaurants, shops, and event venues. The winery is the perfect place to stop for an afternoon tasting, a glass of wine before dinner, or in my case, a much-needed wine break after work.
The tasting features a variety of wines, from riesling to grenache, conversationally described by my hospitality attendant behind the bar. My favorite was the 2014 Estate Grown Determination, a blend of syrah, cabernet franc, malbec, and grenache, offering bold fruit flavors, including plum, cherry, and strawberry.
Since Barrister Winery hosts live music every Wednesday and Friday night, I made sure to visit the winery on one of those days. After all, next to cheese, nothing pairs quite so perfectly with a glass of wine as does music. Barrister operates from its winery on Railroad Avenue and the nearby Downtown tasting room.
I visited the winery on Wednesday to enjoy a tasting while listening to Shawn Owsley and Pat Simmons play. I was particularly impressed by the popular Rough Justice Red Wine. This wine was a beautiful blend of cabernet franc and merlot, donning heavy notes of cherry sprinkled with decadent hints of chocolate.
A hard act to follow, I nonetheless did so with a visit to Barrister’s satellite tasting room on Thursday. Familiar with the selection after visiting the winery the day before, I took the hospitality attendant’s recommendation and tasted the 2018 Syrah, a smoky, peppery wine dominated by flavors of black fruit, both fresh and dried.
Articles Related to Washington’s Spokane Wine Country
Spokane is the Uncharted Wine Country of Washington
North of Walla Walla and east of Woodinville, Spokane wine country is waiting to be explored and discovered. The wine is waiting to be tasted downtown in the south hill, north side, and valley. Lilac City hosts a variety of wineries, tasting rooms, and wine shops carrying everything from red to white, still to sparkling, and French to Italian. No matter the variety, vintage, or vineyard, look no further than Spokane if you’re searching for a good bottle of wine. If you’re looking for a good glass of wine, I know a place—Spokane wineries. When planning your next wine adventure in Washington, Oregon, or elsewhere, let Wander with Wonder be your guide.