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Monday, Jun. 07, 2010

10 Great Northwest Destination Wineries

We enjoy visiting wineries of all sizes, but to be a "destination winery," you have to do things on a grand scale. Here are 10 wineries worth planning a weekend around.

Mission Hill Family Estate

Vancouver native Anthony von Mandl has created a winery experience unlike any other. The architecture of Mission Hill is nothing short of stunning, as it resembles a Tuscan hill town from afar. Enjoy a meal at the Terrace restaurant, sip John Simes' award-winning wines, and soak in a wine-country experience like no other.

1730 Mission Hill Road, West Kelowna, B.C., V4T 2E4, 250-768-6498, missionhillwinery.com.

Maryhill Winery

Atop basalt cliffs, this winery in the Columbia Gorge dramatically overlooks the Columbia River and provides a delicious view of Mount Hood. Owners Craig and Vicki Leuthold have turned their dream into one of the most beautiful wineries in the Northwest. Just below the tasting room is a 4,000-seat amphitheater, where national music acts perform each summer.

9774 Highway 14, Goldendale, WA 98620, 877-627-9445, maryhillwinery.com.

Tsillan Cellars

Bob Jankelson was inspired by visits to Italy and created one of the most dramatic and beautiful wineries in the Pacific Northwest. Tsillan features 40 acres of vines, waterfalls and Sorrento's, a stunning on-site restaurant that is open year-round. Everything overlooks Lake Chelan.

3875 Highway 97-A, Chelan, WA 98816, 509-682-9463, tsillancellars.com.

Domaine Drouhin Oregon

In the 1970s and early '80s, Oregon was trying to find its place in the wine world. It knew it arrived when famed Burgundian Robert Drouhin built a winery in the Dundee Hills. For years, the winery was rarely open to visitors, but now you can experience an operation that helped change everything.

6750 Breyman Orchards Road, Dayton, OR 97114, 503-864-2700, domainedrouhin.com.

Basel Cellars Estate Winery

This stone and wood lodge overlooks Highway 125 and turns more heads than any other winery in the Walla Walla Valley. Beyond is a swimming pool, tennis court and winemaker Justin Basel's estate vineyards. Wine club members rent the estate, especially for weekends.

2901 Old Milton Highway, Walla Walla, WA 99362, 509-522-0200, baselcellars.com.

Chateau Ste. Michelle

This is the Northwest's original destination winery. Chateau Ste. Michelle opened in 1976 and annually attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors for tastings, tours, concerts, events and more. Nearly 30 years ago, CSM was the only winery in Woodinville. Thanks to the chateau, this community now is home to more than 50 wineries and tasting rooms.

14111 N.E. 145th St., Woodinville, WA 98072, 425-488-1133, ste-michelle.com.

King Estate Winery

Ed King set the standard for aviation radio just after World War II, and his family launched Oregon's iconic winery in the Lorane Valley in 1991. Its bucolic 1,033 acres are certified organic, with sheep and raptors providing maintenance. Guided tours and library tastings are available each afternoon.

80854 Territorial Road, Eugene, OR 97405, 541-942-9874, kingestate.com.

Ste. Chapelle

Opened in 1976, Ste. Chapelle has helped nurture the burgeoning Idaho wine industry by crafting premium wines at remarkable prices. The winery is named after La Sainte Chapelle in Paris, and the building is modeled after it. There's plenty of room for picnics, and the winery plays host to summer concerts.

19348 Lowell Road, Caldwell, ID 83607, 208-453-7843, stechapelle.com.

Terra Blanca Winery

Keith and ReNae Pilgrim launched Terra Blanca on Red Mountain in the mid-1990s with the idea of creating something special. Their first tasting room was simple with breathtaking views, and the winery facility they finished in 2006 is nothing short of stunning. It provides 18,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor banquet space and relies on several local caterers to provide cuisine equal to the views.

34715 N. DeMoss Road, Benton City, WA 99320, 509-588-6082, terrablanca.com.

Three Rivers Winery

About 6 miles west of downtown Walla Walla, Wash., is Three Rivers Winery. In addition to great wine, Three Rivers offers a relaxing atmosphere, a large tasting room and a concert venue. It's also the only winery in the Northwest with a three-hole golf course you can play for free.

5641 W. Highway 12, Walla Walla, WA 99362, 509-526-9463, threeriverswinery.com.