Customized Tours is a family owned business, founded in 1989, that specializes in personalized tours in and around Seattle, Mount Rainier, wine country, Boeing and a lot more that is worth seeing in the Pacific Northwest. Seattle Southside was given the opportunity to experience the Winery and Waterfall tour with Joel, the company’s general manager.
At our first stop we entered the gates of the oldest and most well-known winery called Chateau Ste Michelle. The winery is the largest single producer of Riesling in the United States but also produces other wine varietals as well.
As we passed through the wine gift shop we headed towards the back area to a glass room. In there, the winery serves their Col Solare Bottega which offers a “taste of Red Mountain” in Woodinville. It is an esteemed winemaking partnership between two influential wine producers, Washington’s Chateau Ste Michelle and Marchesi Antinori of Tuscany. We tasted their 2007, 2008, and 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon-based red wine which was a great flight to distinguish the different years.
The sommelier was well educated and did a great job of informing us about the specific wine we were trying as well as explaining the different factors that go into producing wine. I already have a strong passion about wine so I absorbed everything! I consider wine flights to be the best way to test your palate because you really are able to compare flavors and discover preferences about different grapes.
The second winery we went to was Januik | Novelty Hill Winery which had a more modern ambiance and environment. Inside the facility there were large windows that allowed visitors to see portions of the wine production in action.
There were two women who served us four tastes of Mike Januik’s wine. I enjoyed this style of wine tasting better because we were able to try four different wines of our choice. I like fruit forward, bold yet minimal tannins which are usually Grenaches in my opinion. I was very surprised with the Novelty Hill Malbec which had a vanilla spice finish! Dark fruits and chocolate are my favorite flavors when it comes to red wine so this was a great choice. While we were tasting wines, Joel picked up lunch for us at the nearby Purple Café with choices of gourmet salads and delicious sandwiches. Make sure to bring $15 in cash for your lunch and $5 - $10 for each wine tasting at the different wineries.
After the wine tour and lunch, Joel took us over back roads and farmlands to the next stop of the tour – the 270 ft. high Snoqualmie Falls. With more than 1.5 million sightseers every year, the falls are one of the most scenic attractions Washington State has to offer. It took us about half an hour from the previously visited wineries, past horse farms, flower fields and over back roads to get to the Snoqualmie Falls. Plenty of free parking spots are available and in close walking distance to the falls.
We made our way to the two viewing areas that give spectacular views of the waterfalls and offer visitors the chance to sit down and have a picnic. For those among you that are into scenic hikes, a one-mile trail leads down to the river onto another outlook overlooking the river and the falls. Before we made our way back to the car, we browsed the little gift shop and fueled up on coffee and hot chocolate before making our way to our next destination – Boehms Chocolate in Issaquah.
Located in Issaquah, Washington, Boehms was the final stop on our Winery & Waterfall Tour. This location not only serves as a place to purchase confections, but it is also the location of a historic Edelweiss Chalet and candy factory. We were able to tour the chalet and learn about Mr. Boehm’s legacy as well as tour the factory where all of the candies are created. It was definitely a sweet stop and we left only after making our way through the gift shop for some treats to take home.