Looking for laid-back romance or the perfect place to enjoy wine with friends? The state’s American Viticultural Areas (AVAs) have prime picnic locales (think rolling vineyards framed by snow-clad mountains), and bottles of world-class wine. Just don’t forget a blanket.
AVA: Puget Sound
Chateau Ste. Michelle, just 15 miles northeast of Seattle near Woodinville, has hosted a picnic-friendly summer concert series in its intimate amphitheater since 1984. Pack a cooler with snacks, grab your camping chair or blanket and head to the winery, where you can purchase a bottle to enjoy on the lawn during the performance. Tickets are known to sell out, so grab yours in advance.
AVA: Columbia Valley
The massive Columbia Valley AVA covers much of the eastern side of Washington and contains nearly all of the state’s sub-appellations, which are their own smaller AVAs.
AVAs such as Yakima Valley, Walla Walla Valley, Red Mountain, Rattlesnake Hills, and Lake Chelan all fall within the larger Columbia Valley AVA.
AVA: Yakima Valley
The small towns of Prosser and Zillah fall within this AVA, which is a thriving hub for wineries. In Zillah, buy gourmet nibbles and dine by a koi pond at the Bonair Winery.
Enjoy gorgeous views from vineyards in the Horse Heaven Hills, Red Mountain, and Snipes Mountain sub-appellations. Find picnic supplies in Vintner’s Village, a walkable campus complete with tasting rooms for numerous wineries.
AVAs: Wahluke Slope / Lake Chelan
For those heading north from the Yakima Valley to Lake Chelan, stop in Mattawa in the Wahluke Slope AVA. Here, you’ll find the Ginkgo Forest Winery, a great place to stop for an outdoor bite to eat.
AVA: Walla Walla Valley
Vineyard picnics in Southeast Washington get a boost from world-renowned wines and spectacular views of rolling farmland. Walla Walla is famous for its many downtown tasting rooms, but head outside the city for the best picnic experiences. The far-flung East Side Wine District boasts beautiful scenery and plentiful wineries, many of which accept outside food.
AVA: Columbia Gorge
Pack your snacks and head for the Summer Concert Series at Maryhill Winery along Highway 14 southwest of Goldendale, where the Columbia Gorge AVA straddles the Columbia River. Relax in the giant terraced amphitheater and watch the sun sink.