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Northeast of Seattle in the Sammamish Valley lies the small town of Woodinville. There are a number of wineries there, and especially in autumn during crush time people enjoy touring the facilities and visiting the tasting bars. Here a foursome is trying five wines of their choice from the ten to twelve available on the menu. The charge for tasting is $5 at the two largest and most well know of the wineries, St. Michelle and Columbia. These are located across the road form one another and are easily reachable by bicycle from Seattle, making a very pleasant day trip. The atmosphere is relaxed and there is much besides wine to enjoy looking at in the large gift shops. There are places to picnic on the grounds, and the autumn colors in the valley make a beautiful backdrop. It might interest you to know that the vineyards are not located near the wineries, but over on the eastern side of the Cascade range. The grapes are harvested and brought over the mountains to the wineries for crush and fermentation. Wine barrels are purchased from France and American makers according to the type of oak best for each type of wine made. Wine making in Washington state is relatively new. . .only 40 to 45 years. The industry is expanding and the products coming into their own. Washington's growing regions share similar latitudes to some of the great wine regions in France and the climate is apparently ideal for several grape varieties. I'm used to the wineries of Northern California, so it was fun to become more familiar with the varieties of wines being produced locally.