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Swiftwater CellarsSometimes, with everything going on in life, one needs a break from the harried day-to-day. A little get-away can be just the ticket to feeling refreshed.

Swiftwater CellarsA few weeks ago my cousin and I took a drive and headed east from Seattle to Swiftwater Cellars, a destination winery near Cle Elem. We discovered a treat just far enough from the city to help us feel like we were getting away, but close enough to make for a day trip.

Swiftwater Cellars has everything one needs for a relaxing respite from the city. Wine tasting, delicious food, entertainment (check their concert lineup here), golf and year-round outdoor activities all within one venue. And, had we decided on an overnight trip, Swiftwater Cellars is conveniently located right next door to the elegant and luxurious Suncadia resort.

Swiftwater CellarsI gave a nod to Swiftwater Cellars on the blog earlier this spring when I visited Seattle’s premier food and wine event, Taste Washington. I was so excited when I got an invitation to come and learn more about the facility.

Swiftwater CellarsAs inexperienced wine drinkers who want to know more about wine, my cousin and I were both a bit nervous about our level of knowledge and ability to speak the “language”.

But Linda Trotta, Swiftwater’s resident winemaker who has been making wine for 25 years, put us right at ease. Linda’s philosophy when it comes to wine is that is should be approachable and accessible. “You can enjoy wine at whatever level you are at”, she told us.

Swiftwter Cellars After giving us a tour of the wine-making facilities, we sat down with Linda to do some wine tasting 101 – a lesson that was way more fun than any school I have ever attended!  Swiftwater CellarsBringing out flights of wine (which she pointed out are less intimidating than ordering a glass) and encouraging us to trust our taste buds, she held our hand all along the way and gave us tips on how to explore the essence of the wine by swirling, sniffing, tasting and note taking (so we know what we like for the future!)

Swiftwater CellarsShe talked with us about how there are many conditions that can change the way the grape reacts and thus how the wine tastes.

There are subtle nuances of the grapes – where they are grown, the sunlight, the soil, when they were picked – and all of this can effect the flavor profile and how wine behaves.

Swiftwater CellarsOf course, how can one taste a bunch of wine without something in the belly?

This winery is unique with a restaurant, The Hoist House, attached – so that all the food can be perfectly matched with the wine through collaborative efforts of the winemaker and chef.

Swiftwater CellarsIt is quite an experience to have the winemaker dine with you at a restaurant and help you to perfectly pair the wine with the food.

I have always been fascinated by the notion of pairings. It is interesting to me how food can change the flavor of the wine and wine can help enhance the taste of the food.

Swiftwater CellarsWe were hooked from the starter with this light and tasty flatbread topped with brie cheese and pear slices.

Swiftwater CellarsAnd this most delicious, melt in your mouth, pork shank is one of the best things I have ever eaten!

Swiftwater Cellars You don’t have to worry about getting enough to eat here. Portions at The Hoist House are generous.

Owner Don Watts has achieved his vision of creating an at-home environment where the food and wine is plentiful so that guests never have to wonder where the wine is in the glass, or where the food is on the plate.

Swiftwater CellarsHe has also succeeded at creating a space where people will want to celebrate life’s special moments.

Swiftwater CellarsWe had the pleasure of touring the beautiful facility with Don, and were impressed with the versatile event space that it is.

Swiftwater CellarsWhat a fantastic place this would be to hold an event!

Swiftwater CellarsInside and out, there are several stunning spaces available to fit one’s needs.

Swiftwater CellarsAnything is possible, from small corporate meetings to large outdoor weddings, intimate dinners in the romantic barrel rooms, or wine tasting with friends on a private balcony.

Swiftwater CellarsWhat I didn’t expect from my visit to Swiftwater Cellars, and what truly makes this place exceptional is heart. It originates from the owners, Don and Lori Watts.

Swiftwater CellarsEvery part of this family run business is infused with little touches of them and their dedication to making the guest feel welcome and at home – away from home.

Swiftwater CellarsFrom the moment Don greeted us a handshake and his infectious smile, to the great big bear hug he gave us as we left, we felt such great warmth. Just like part of the family.

Swiftwater CellarsIt all made me want to linger just a bit longer…

Swiftwater CellarsWith a setting like this, wouldn’t you?