The Party Bus


In March of 2010, for Jon’s mother’s birthday, the family rented a party bus for 16 of us to tour the Woodinville wine country. It was nice to have the benefit of a designated driver, although towards the end of the day, I’m not sure what the driver thought of us. That said, the bus was equipped with a stripper pole (I assume for bachelor parties), so in all likelihood we were really tame compared to what he has seen on his bus. The weather was great, it was sunny and I wore a light summer jacket instead of the winter coat I have still been wearing lately. Funny how we remember those details.

So, we got on the bus and headed to our first winery of the day, DiStefano Winery. DiStefano is a family owned winery. We had a large group, and Jon’s uncle arranged for us to have a mini-wine tasting course, with fruit, bread and cheese plates. It was pretty amusing when random people kept wandering in and the owner had to keep telling them that it was a private party. The owner and winemaker led us through his lineup of wines. They have a Sauvignon Blanc that is delicious, but not a crisp clean, Sauvignon Blanc. This wine is more like a Viognier or a big buttery Chardonnay. Which is why Jon loves it. Curiously, we opened a bottle the other day, and on the third day, the wine does take on a more crisp, apple taste – which made me very happy.

The DiStefano Lineup

We also tasted a red blend called Sogno, which appealed to all.  It is most Cabernet Franc, with a little Cab Sauvignon.  It tastes like berries, which I enjoy in a red wine.

The Rose was also very popular. I really liked it a lot and so did several members of the group. I didn’t get it that day, but I would if we go back soon.  Unfortunately, according to their website, it looks like it is currently sold out. One of the wines that we didn’t try that day was their Petit Verdot, this is a varietal that is typically used in blends, so I’m excited to try this wine.

After we left DiStefano, we headed over to the warehouse district and visited Patterson Cellars. Patterson didn’t make any white wines, but we tried several of their reds.  Looking at their website now, it looks like they have added a white or two to the lineup though.  I thought that their wines were too bold and heavy for my taste. I prefer a softer, more approachable red. Even Jon, who likes a bold Cabernet, was not all that impressed with their wines. Our tasting at Patterson was relatively quick, so we had a little bit of time to head to another winery.

After Patterson, Jon, our moms and I headed next door to try out Edmonds Winery. Edmonds is a smaller shop than many of the Woodinville wineries, family owned and they run the tasting room as well. I have talked about Edmonds before (they have a wine called Bentley, named after the winery dog), but I can’t say enough good things about their wine. The ones that we tried were excellent and very reasonably priced. The low point here was that my mom and I both bought a bottle of their Gerwurtraminer that he was closing out. It wasn’t marked as a sparkling wine, but when I drank it, it definitely had carbonation, and seemed off. It was certainly past its prime. Later, when mom opened hers, it was better, but not great. Lesson learned – you can’t win ‘em all. I’ll still come back.

In between wineries, we had a great time making fun of the long lines of cars that got stuck behind us on the hills.  The Party Bus was like the Little Engine That Could, chugging up the Woodinville hills with the weight of 16 winos.  I’m sure they loved us!  Jon’s cousin did a mixed CD of tunes for the day, so we got to rock out with the best of them too.

Matthews Estate was the last winery on the list for the day. Again, they focused on red wines, and did not have any whites. However, I believe that they now have a Sauvignon Blanc that I’m curious to try. Matthews really knows its business. Their reds were all very good, but with high prices they aren’t everyday drinking wines.  We did buy a couple of bottles of their Blackboard Syrah, which is a charity wine that donates a portion of its proceeds to schools.  At $22, it is nice to get an affordable wine and do something nice for the community as well.

We ended out day a bit happier and louder than usual, but a good time was had by all.


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