Posted on: April 6th, 2011 by Jen Mueller

If I asked you to describe an afternoon of wine tasting and you think of the words, stuffy, boring and dull at any point – you’re not hitting the right tasting rooms.  Washington State is home to hundreds of great wineries and tasting rooms each with their own unique vibe that often matches the personality of the winemaker.

For example, on a recent trip out to Woodinville I stopped by Dusted Valley and noticed the name of their wine club the “Stained Tooth Club.”  According to the info sheet to sign, you just need to do the chicken dance while singing “I’m Too Sexy.”  Fun right?  Just a couple doors down at Sparkman Cellars, I noticed the old school rock softly playing through the speakers. It felt like I was being invited into a friend’s house on a lazy Saturday afternoon to just hang out and drink wine.

It’s probably because the winemakers, Chris and Kelly Sparkman,  place a heavy emphasis on family.  Two of the wines the produce – Ruby Leigh and Stella Mae – are named after their daughters.

The ambiance added to a nice selection of wines, although you can bet I’ll be hitting the tasting room again once they release their Syrah’s later this year.  If you stop by, taste the “Ruby Leigh” and see if you notice the toasted marshmallow nose.  I thought it was distinctive.  So was “Kindred” a nice table wine made of 57% Merlot but had some of the same qualities of a Pinot Noir.


Both Sparkman Cellars and Dusted Valley are in the Hollywood Vineyards Complex just a couple doors down from Purple in Woodinville.  Both are worth a stop, particularly for novice wine drinkers who don’t know where to start.  You won’t be disappointed with the staff on hand and the atmosphere.

Sports fans and sports hangouts have their own personalities just like winemakers and tasting rooms.  I think novice sports fans sometimes get intimidated by the more raucous fans or by the hard-core sports bars that cater to the most passionate fans.  You don’t have to like that atmosphere to be a fan.  You can watch a game anywhere; just find spot that fits your personality.  If you need a place to start, try the bar area of a favorite restaurant.  Or just pour a glass of wine an enjoy the game from the comfort of your own couch.   Cheers!

In addition to talking sports, Jen Mueller enjoys a good glass of wine and posts regular blog posts at Wine Saints.