The Kitsap Peninsula is home to many award-winning wines you can enjoy at wineries, tasting rooms, local restaurants, farmers markets and special events. One very special event is the Kitsap Wine Festival on Saturday, August 10th.
Spend the afternoon at Bremerton’s Harborside Fountain Park sipping wine with friends and family. More than 30 wineries from Washington and Oregon will be pouring tastes of over 100 delightful wines. And to enhance the experience, local restaurants will be whipping up some delectable bites.
The Kitsap Peninsula has its own small but growing wine country; it’s part of the larger Puget Sound American Viticultural Area, a federal designation that includes the islands, peninsulas, and south to Olympia. For an impromptu wine weekend, wander around Visit Kitsap to discover wine tasting opportunities and weekend lodging options.
The largest concentration of wineries is on Bainbridge Island. Seven of the fourteen Kitsap Peninsula wineries are just a relaxing ferry ride away. Four tasting rooms, a brewery, and restaurants galore are within walking distance of the Bainbridge ferry. Wineries are just minutes away from the ferry terminal, close enough to bike to if the weather is nice. So bring your own or rent one from Classic Cycle on Winslow Way.
A short ride from the ferry is Bainbridge Vineyards, planted in 1977, with the first Siegerrebe vines planted in the U.S. Its historic vineyard is also planted to Müller-Thurgau, Madeleine Angevine and Pinot Noir. This award-winning winery received gold for both the late harvest Siegerrebe and Raspberry dessert wine.
A stone’s throw away is Perennial Vintners. Their vineyards are planted to predominantly Melon de Bourgogne, the best white to have with seafood. Other varietals include Müller-Thurgau, Madeleine Angevine, and Siegerrebe. Their red wine is the red grape, Lemberger from the other side of the mountains a great summer bbq wine.
Several weekends during the year, the Winery Alliance of Bainbridge Island presents Wine on the Rock. This is a weekend of great wine, good food and amazing music at five of the seven Bainbridge Island wineries.
Tickets are good for the weekend and includes a wine glass, the tasting, a tote and live music at each winery. You’ll also get a chance to meet the winemakers from the award-winning Amelia Wynn Winery, Eagle Harbor Winery, Eleven Winery, Fletcher Bay Winery, and Rolling Bay Winery. It’s a wonderful celebration of wine and music.
Make this a quick getaway and stay the weekend! The Winery Alliance has partnered with the Bainbridge Island Lodging Association to offer Wine on the Rock weekend packages. Book a two-night getaway with one of the participating accommodations and enjoy a complimentary bottle of wine, $5 dollars off your Wine on the Rock ticket and depending on the property, possible weekend discounts.
One of the newest almost-open-but-not-quite-yet wineries on the Kitsap Peninsula is Hard Hat Winery near Poulsbo. Hard hat refers to what early navy divers wore when exploring the deep. The wines are available at d’Vine Wines in Kingston. When these retired navy divers do open their tasting room, dubbed the Decompression Room, it’ll be kid and dog-friendly and allow outside food.
At the south end of the Kitsap Peninsula, cross the scenic Tacoma Narrows Bridge into fjord-like Gig Harbor. Here you can wine and dine at many great restaurants and taverns with views of the marinas and mountains. While there, sample the locally made wines from Carl’s Pond Winery. Made from grapes trucked over from Yakima and Rattlesnake Hills AVAs, this winery has been producing award-winning wines since the 2010 vintage. Predominantly red grapes – Merlot, Cabernet, and Syrah – you can find them in many stores and a few restaurants in the Gig Harbor area.
Drive just a few minutes north of Gig Harbor to discover Olalla Vineyard and Winery. Opened in 2008, the Olalla vineyards are planted to Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Syrah, and Golubok. Golubok, according to the Good Fruit Grower, is perfectly suited to the Puget Sound AVA. Believed to be from Ukraine, “It’s an extremely early variety with red flesh and red juice that is used for blending.” Another unique aspect of this winery is the use of clay amphorae, a type of container of various sizes with a wide body, narrow neck and two handles as pictured on their wine labels
It’s also an entertaining place to hang out with music on Fridays from 6:30 ‘til 9:00p. During the drier months, local performers and guests are outside in the vineyards and during the rainy season, Free Friday Night music moves into the Loft. It’s a cozy, intimate venue for these live performances. You can check out the local talent and register at Events/Happenings in the Vineyard
From there go west to the isthmus of the peninsulas to Belfair, a small town at the end of the Hood Canal. Also home to three wineries, award-winning Mosquito Fleet Winery, Long Road Winery and the newest one, Sunlit Canyon Winery. All have small productions, 55 cases here, 250 there, but are making huge impressions.
Established in 2009, Mosquito Fleet Winery is a place for wonderful hand-crafted wines and a boatload of fun. Like most wineries on the Kitsap Peninsula, grapes are trucked over from warmer, drier eastern Washington in macro bins, then sorted, de-stemmed, fermented and left to mature in oak barrels.
Mosquito Fleet’s 2013 Reserve 34 Walla Walla Valley Cabernet sold out shortly after it was awarded #1 Cabernet in the Northwest in the Seattle Times Pacific NW Magazine Top 50 in November 2017. So, get on down to the tasting room, located at 21 Ne Old Belfair Hwy and taste future award-winning wines before they’re a fond memory. Open weekends.
Long Road Winery in Belfair is small but mighty! Grapes are sourced from eastern Washington and from the Willamette Valley in Oregon. The 2015 Roncali Vineyard Pinot Noir medaled at the Northwest Wine Summit. While they’re not yet open to the public, you can get a bottle or two of their wines online, at the Lone Rock Mercantile in scenic Seabeck or enjoy a bottle with dinner at the exquisite Brix 25 in Gig Harbor.
On the Hood Canal, Seabeck Cellars is one of the Kitsap Peninsula’s newest family-operated winery. While not open to the public yet, their wines are available online or better yet, taste them at one of the Kitsap Peninsula Farmer Markets. Also sold at the Lone Rock Mercantile. Road trip! This is a Sunday kind-of-drive with spectacular views of Hood Canal with the Olympic Mountains backdrop.
Another small family winery, Sunlit Canyon Cellars planted Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris in 2007 high up on a ridge overlooking Hood Canal, these vineyards are part of the growing Puget Sound AVA. While not open to the public, you can purchase these wines online.
The Kitsap Peninsula is just a relaxing ferry ride from the Seattle area or by the scenic Tacoma Narrows or Hood Canal bridge; the perfect place for a quick getaway from the bustling urban scene. Click here for a WA State ferry schedule.
Your getaway will give you time to unwind with locally made wines outdoors on a patio, deck or sidewalk cafe. Nearly every town on the Kitsap Peninsula is located on the water with warm and welcoming hotels nearby, beautiful scenery, shops and eateries for all tastes and budgets. For more information on wine events, dining and lodging options, check out VisitKitsap.com.