During our anniversary weekend away in Port Townsend, we had lovely fall weather perfectly suited for an afternoon drive through the region’s wine and cider trail.
I didn’t realize there were so many cider manufacturers on the northeastern tip of the Olympic Peninsula, but there were many more than we could visit on our trip!
After a delicious lunch, we headed to our first stop at Finnriver Farm and Cidery, which several of my colleagues had recommended.
The parking lot was packed with cars but we managed to find a space in the overflow parking area and make our way into the complex. Once inside, it was hard to know where to look or head first! There was a huge pavilion that offers covered seating in the midst of several stands—a couple of different places to get cider tastings, several different places to get food and more.
We headed to the larger cider area and tried to follow along with the multiple employees pointing out which ciders were on draft, which ones were in bottles, which ones were available for sampling and which ones you had to buy by the glass.
To be honest, it was a little overwhelming. And it was so busy that no one was really able to take time to explain things to us. We did work out that there were some different ciders over at the other cider stand so we got the regular sampler to share, picked a few from the larger stand, and then walked over to the other one to get the rest.
There were lots of people in the pavilion so we headed out to the lawn and found some partially covered seating overlooking the farm. There were some corn hole boards and a number of families were enjoying their afternoon together, their kids running around the green space.
It was nice to relax and people watch as we sipped on our cider, but once we were done we were ready to go. It seemed like a fun place, but there were way too many people for us, and we never did feel like we understood all of the ciders they produced or whether or not we had tried the ones we wanted. It would probably be best to visit later in the season or maybe even on a day when the weather was less ideal.
After our visit we set out for our next stop, Eaglemount Wine and Cider. This place was much more low-key, although the tasting room was still full and there were a couple of families enjoying their drinks out on the patio.
The tasting room had these tiny little cups and quite the variety of cider flavors so we shared a tasting of four of the ciders they had on tap.
Brian really liked the Brambleberry Burn, which was a seasonal version featuring berries and spicy peppers, making it sweet and hot. We also tried the Quince Cider because we didn’t know what it was! It turns out it’s a fruit that’s sort of like a pear. Not only did I learn what a quince was, I discovered I like pear cider better than quince cider!
The Rhubarb Cider and Boot Brawl were both good as well. The Boot Brawl has 7 hops varietals in it, which Brian tends to like. While he liked this one, he thought the hoppy cider we had near Winthrop was a little better.
Our last stop right before returning to town was Port Townsend Vineyards. It actually wasn’t on my list—it hadn’t come up on any of my searches, and we only knew about it because we saw signs on our initial drive into town.
Despite having very little information we decided to give it a try, and it ended up being my favorite stop of the afternoon!
While it was also packed—standing room only—in both the tasting room and covered seating areas, the employees were very personable and helpful. We shared a tasting, and the guy behind the counter kept coming out to us to pour us a taste and took time to explain the wine and their production processes.
They had just opened up the winery, which according to their website features:
…a new co-op production facility to support sustainable winemaking… All of the grapes grown locally as well as those sourced from top regional vineyards are cared for in this brand new wine production facility. Built as a custom-crush facility, this new building houses modern winemaking equipment and ample space for barrel storage. It was designed to ensure the hand-harvested grapes could be crushed and fermented with minimal intervention using environmentally-efficient water and energy practices.
That weekend they were having a bit of an opening celebration and their wine club members were stopping by to pick up their wine.
As part of the celebration, they also had live music! A gentleman was playing guitar in the seating area with his dog by his side, and although he was a little hard to hear over all of the noise, we were able to catch most of what he was doing by standing in between the tasting room and seating area.
In addition to enjoying the service and atmosphere, the wine was good—we ended up buying a bottle of their 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon. Overall it was my favorite stop of the afternoon, and I would absolutely go back again to see if the experience remains consistent during a time when they’re not hosting a big celebration and working to impress their wine club members!
There are many other wineries and cidery locations throughout the Port Townsend area and based on the three we visited, they are all very different from one another! We’ll be back to check out the rest of the wine and cider trail another time–preferably on another beautiful fall weekend!