After spending a week vacationing in Westport, WA located on Gray’s Harbor, I think I can scratch a few things off my bucket list.
Rent a beach house on the Washington Coast, check.
Go clamming on the bay, check.
Set crab traps off the pier and learn how to clean them properly before cooking, check.
Eat a geoduck clam, check (pronounced goey duck, which makes no sense to this grammar nerd).
Try wines produced in a coastal town, check.
To be honest, I wasn’t really expecting tremendous wines on the coast. I wasn’t sure about the grape-growing situation or the demand for turning those grapes into drinkable form. Not to generalize or anything, but Westport and the surrounding area is a fishing destination and a hot spot for clamming during open season. This may be pure speculation but I’m going to bet most fisher-people get off a boat after a day or two and reach for a shower and a beer.
Nevertheless, we were looking forward to checking it out once we arrived. We visited two wineries, both are located in Westport and both are large-production outfits, meaning they put our 300 – 400 cases a year to shame.
But are they any good, you ask?
First stop: Westport Winery
This was a fun place because they had a small vineyard on-site that they built beautiful gardens around. After we each tasted our 5 complimentary wines we purchased a glass of our favorite and walked around the gardens while we drank and the kiddos ate popcorn (brilliant!). They even had a giant outdoor scrabble board and a putting green.
These guys make over 30 wines, which is a feat in itself considering all the label work that goes into each one, and boyyyy do Von and I know a little something about label work. Which brings me to point out another thing I liked about Westport Winery – their labels were a lot of fun.
With names like Mermaid Merlot, Charterboat Chick, Jetty Cat, Peaches on the Beaches, and Nirvana, how can you not have fun with that?
(A quick tidbit about the ‘Nirvana’ reference: Kurt Cobain grew up in the area. Specifically he spent his childhood in Aberdeen, WA which is about 25 minutes away from Westport. There are Kurt Cobain memorials and tributes throughout the area.)
Did the wines we sampled blow our hair back? Not really, but they were decent. All three of us chose the Nirvana, a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah, as our favorite. Von and I both purchased a glass of the Surfer, a Syrah, but my mom had purchased a glass of Nirvana and we definitely preferred hers. When she went to inquire about the price of a bottle she found out it was $49. It was good, but we weren’t feeling it was $49 good. So there ya go.
I would have liked to sample more wines but we couldn’t have possibly tried all 30 (At least not with small children in tow. “You want to play with that glass decanter? Suuuure!“). Plus, many of them were sweeter blends and the sweet side isn’t really my cup of vino. They also have a hard cider, sparkling wine, and raspberry chocolate wine that sound like fun (okay, so maybe the raspberry chocolate sounds not-so-good to me, but I’m sure lots of people love it). Overall this was a neat place and we were definitely glad we stopped.
Second stop: Cranberry Road Winery & Bog Water Brewing Co.
So here’s the deal: These guys don’t use any grapes for their cranberry wine, which makes sense but it also painted this tart and sweet picture that I was prepared to dislike. Still, we were really curious and we love seeing other people doing fun and different things with wine like we are. They also brew beer and, if I was a beer girl, I think I would have really liked their Rye IPA. As it was, I somewhat enjoyed two sips and went back to what fits like a glove to my hand – my wine glass.
They have two cranberry wines: Straight-up Cranberry and a Cinnamon Cranberry. Both were surprisingly good and not near as tart or syrupy sweet as we had pre-conceived. As we were sampling, the owner (a really friendly woman) began telling us how they drink these wines. The Cranberry wine is apparently terrific as a sangria, so she gave us the delicious-sounding recipe for that. Alternatively, the Cinnamon Cranberry makes a really yummy mulled wine which I loved the sound of, especially as we enter the Fall months. Mulled wine and Halloween go together for me like…grapes and yeast.
The three of us were happy with this fun find and we bought a couple bottles of each to try out the recipes. Talking to this woman reminded me of how we talk to people at the market when they try our jalapeno wines. We start with a conversation about wine and pretty soon we’re talking recipes, then food, then experiences. It’s a really cool way to make wine enjoyable on more levels.
At the end of the day, we went back to our beach house, watched the sunset, and poured a glass of Pinot Noir from Santa Barbera County my mom had brought along on her drive because it was so aptly named SeaGlass. It wasn’t Washington Coast wine, but it was perfect.