When some people talk about wanting to “paint the town red,” they really mean with a nice merlot or pinot noir. Whether you enjoy dry, sweet, full-bodied, red or white, wine has its fair share of options. Though Washington wine isn’t as well-known as California’s Napa Valley, Seattle has nevertheless been quietly cultivating a bustling urban wine scene. So while you spend a day exploring the city’s abundant culinary scene, make sure to wander off the beaten path to sample tastings from these hidden wine gems.

Revolution Wine

Revolution Wine Seattle
Enjoy artisanal cheese, charcuterie and seafood items paired with their wines.

Stop by Capitol Hill’s Revolution Wine for something completely different. But hurry—this spot, listed by Zagat as one of the 10 hottest new Seattle bars in 2016, won’t stay hidden for long. The shop, run by owners Carmen Blair and Mark Brown, is perfect when you’re ready to peruse the racks and snag a seat in the lounge for some indulgent wine-and-cheese pairings. Try to swing by for a free wine tasting in the evening.

Structure Cellars Winery

Structure Cellars Winery Seattle
The small tasting room offers an intimate, casual experience.

Just south of the Seattle stadiums is the tasting room of Structure Cellars Winery. This venture, owned by the happily married Brandee Slosar and Brian Grasso, first began in the couple’s basement in 2011. Structure Cellars is named for a moment the couple shared after moving into a newly purchased home, only to be overwhelmed by the amount of work the place needed. Brian consoled Brandee, saying that the house was “a lot like [this] wine. It’s got good bones… great structure.” Boasting the “Blueprint”, white wine mixture of Roussanne and Viognier grapes, Structure Cellars isn’t to be missed.

Bartholomew Winery

Bartholomew Winery Seattle
The tasting room is open to the public on weekends from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.

With a tasting room located in the historic Old Rainier Brewery Building, the Bartholomew Winery has been crafting wines with 100% Washington State grapes since 2007, and now produces over 2,000 cases annually. Putting an emphasis on the “wine lifestyle,” you can find owner and winemaker Bart Fawbush behind the bar of the tasting room every week. Check out the 2015 Rose of Carmernere, the only rosé made with this particular grape in the Northern Hemisphere.


The view from the sweeping vineyards at ANIMALE.

Craving a decadent red? Stop by ANIMALE, a winery that produces small batches of intense, full-flavored red wines by hand. ANIMALE prides itself on offering Old World–inspired wines in the Pacific Northwest that are neither filtered nor fined. Head to the Brunswick & Hunt restaurant, three blocks away from ANIMALE’s production facilities, to check out their selection of vintages and pairings.

Northwest Wine Academy

Northwest Wine Academy Seattle
Students at the academy take the grapes from vine to wine.

It’s a little-known fact that you can taste the best of what up-and-coming winemakers have to offer at Northwest Wine Academy‘s tasting room. The first teaching winery in the Puget Sound region, the Academy offers a prestigious winemaking program where students create all the offerings from vine to wine. Stop by the tasting room for a complimentary taste of their latest creation, and take a few bottles home for a tasting of your own.

Take advantage of Seattle’s bustling winemaking scene while it’s still a well-kept secret. If you really want to paint the town red, consider a five-hour Washington wine tour to round out your Seattle experience.

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Photos: Serge Esteve, Revolution Wine, Structure Wines, Bartholomew Winery, ANIMALE, Northwest Wine Academy