I told them I wouldn’t do it. I told them it wouldn’t be professional. I said, “I could loose the respect of the readers”! Then they said, “the readers don’t respect you anyway and that I needed to calm down or I would loose my job!” Fair enough! So I did it. I sniffed, swirled and sipped my way from Sandpoint to Spokane, so that I might fill you in on our regions great wineries, what some may call a ‘holy mission,’ enlightened, perhaps blessed, with the knowledge of great local wineries and wines of the Inland Northwest. You might be saying to yourself, “she has the best job in the world” or “the last time I drank at work I was written up!”. But I can assure you, stand up citizens, at no time did I knowingly enjoy myself or forget (as champagne bubbles tickled my nose) that this was serious, hardcore research for you, the readers. And so my journey began.
Pend d’ Oreille Winery
Its five o’clock somewhere, and I am on my way to the Pend d’Oreille Winery in Sandpoint. I had a friend ask me if I was staying over night because ‘its such a long trip’! It takes just over a half hour from Coeur d’Alene, I think I’ll manage to make it home before sundown! I’m super excited about this stop because it’s a gift shop in a tasting room, in a restaurant, in a winery, like one of those wooden dolls that has a smaller doll inside and then a smaller doll inside that one…you get the picture.
I meet with Denise (Tasting Room Manager) and Katie (Chef of their Restaurant Bistro Rouge), both are delightful and offer me wine (definitely the way to this girls heart!). I take a sip of their 2009 Reserve Syrah and all I can think, besides the fact that this tastes amazing, is that this space is the perfect place for any wine lovers wedding event, from the batchelorette party to the rehearsal dinner. Along with the main tasting area is a Celler that can accommodate bigger events. There’s even a pretty little grassy area next to the building where you could hold a small ceremony. Pend d’Oreile Winery also provides off site catering and professional wine service along with help planning your event. They are open daily for complimentary tastings and tours so go take a peek!
Location: 220 Cedar Street, Sandpoint, ID
Available for events: Contact for availabilitiy
Indoor and outdoor spaces: Tasting Room (restaurant), Cellar, Small Outdoor area
Capacity: Contact for available accommodations.
Food service: Available on-site through their restaurant Bistro Rouge and available for outside catering as well.
Special notes and considerations: A local artist does the most amazing etched wine bottles. You could have your wedding date etched on the bottles for yourself or as favors. They also make custom wine labels…..the possibilities are endless!
Hours: Monday – Wednesday 10am-6pm, Thursday 10am-7pm, Friday 10am-9pm, Saturday 10am-6pm, Sunday 12am-6pm
Contact: (208) 265-8545
Coeur d’Alene Cellars
Still raring to go, I head over to Coeur d’Alene Cellars. I’ve been drinking their wine since, well, since I could drink wine, and they are definitely a favorite of mine. Coeur d’Alene Cellars is unique because their winery is actually located in Coeur d’Alene and the tasting room is just a short drive from downtown. The winery offers tours and tastings from 11am to 5pm, Tuesdays through Saturdays. I love this because if your considering it for your wedding you can enjoy some wine while you take a look at the venue and surrounding property. Make your big day a wino’s dream with a rehearsal dinner at the Barrel Room #6 and a wedding at their winery in the beautiful outdoor gardens, what more could a girl ask for!? I have personally been to events at both locations and I can tell you first hand they do not disappoint.
Location: Coeur d’Alene Cellars, 3890 N Schreiber Way Coeur d’Alene, ID; Barrel Room #6, 503 East Sherman Ave Coeur d’Alene, ID
Available for events: Contact for Availability.
Indoor and outdoor spaces: Coeur d’Alene Cellars has indoor and extensive garden space for outdoor ceremonies. Barrel Room No.6 is available for indoor events.
Capacity: Coeur d’Alene Cellars accommodates up to 300 guests for outdoor weddings. Barrel Room No.6 accommodates up to 90 guests.
Food service: Both locations can provide light appetizers and pre-approved caterers may be used at both locations as well.
Special notes & considerations: I highly recommend a stop at Barrel Room No. 6 (open Wednesday through Friday at four and Saturday at two) for some cheese (they have an amazing horseradish cheddar) and a glass of my personal favorite the No. 6 Red. while enjoying live entertainment!
Hours of operation: Winery- Tuesday – Saturday 11am-5pm. Barrel Rom No.6- Wednesday – Thursday 4pm-9pm, Friday 4pm-10pm, Saturday 2pm-10pm
Contact: Melanie (208) 664-2336
Nectar Tasting Room
I cant think of a better place to end my tasting extravaganza than at the Nectar Tasting Room. I teeter down Stevens after inserting a mere quarter in the meter, that’s right, I’m a rebel like that. I see the word “Enjoy life with friends, drink happy” written across the tasting rooms windows, don’t mind if I do! As I step inside, I’m immediately greeted by Josh Wade the owner and creator of the drinknectar.com and Ben (aka pouring extraordinaire). As I discreetly spit my gum into a scrap of paper before Josh hands me a glass of Savignon Blanc. I’m reminded of a scene from Sideways where Miles (Paul Giamatti) exclaims, “are you chewing gum while tasting wine?!” with Jack (Thomas Hayden Church) during their hilariously unfortunate Santa Barbara wine country tour. Josh admits to me (without a hint of shame) that he has never seen Sideways, I literally blurt out “Are you freakin kidding me?”! If the wine wasn’t so good and I hadn’t been wearing four inch heels all day, I would definitely have left!
The Nectar Tasting Room serves the wines of five different WA wineries; Hard Roe To Hoe, Terra Blanca, Skylite Cellars, Northwest Cellars and Anelare. The space is swanky but unpretentious and reminds me of a place Carrie Bradshaw would meet up with the girls and obsess over Mr. Big while sipping some “Good In Bed” champagne. The Nectar Tasting Room would make a great rehearsal dinner or wedding reception venue for a couple who likes local wine, knows a good caterer and wants a location that lends itself to the after party scene (you’re already downtown!)
Location: 120 N Stevens Spokane, WA (corner of Maine & Stevens)
Available for events: Sunday-Wednesday
Indoor and outdoor spaces: Some seating available outside when weather permits
Capacity: 10-100 people
Food service: Choose your own caterer to provide food in their space
Special notes & considerations: Nectar tasting room is a modern and warm and provides one of the hippest spots in all of Spokane. Parking is available on all corners surrounding the venue.
Hours of operation: Thursday 2pm-7pm, Friday & Saturday 12am-9pm
Contact: (509) 869-1572 or