Wine at the airport

Wine Press NorthwestMarch 7, 2013 

TSA body scanners, overcrowded flights, unruly passengers and lost luggage could drive any adult airline passenger to drink.

Luckily, if your beverage of choice is wine, Seattle-Tacoma International Airport offers a trio of enticing options for a tasty glass of vino.

Vintage Washington Wine Bar, located in the main terminal pre-security ticketing area (just outside the exit from Concourses C and D), offers up wines from major Washington state producers such as Ste. Michelle Wine Estates, Hogue Cellars and Columbia Crest Winery. Oregon Pinot Noirs come from Hinman Vineyards and Cloudline Cellars.

Additional interesting options, available in 6- or 9-ounce glass pours or by the bottle, include Townshend Cellar Riesling, Red Diamond Shiraz and anything from the menu’s Great Northwest Blends section: Hedges Family Estate CMS, Townshend T3, Hinman Rogue Valley and Desert Wind Winery Ruah.

Pair those wines with Vintage Washington’s “comfort-food” items, everything from breakfast sandwiches to a seafood sampler or a northwest cheese and fruit plate.

Or perhaps you’d prefer a bowl of crab and corn chowder or an Asian chicken salad with that Sauvignon Blanc. Or consider a roasted beef au jus sandwich, chicken penne pasta or braised bratwurst with that medium-bodied red.

The use of plastic plates and utensils is a drawback here, both aesthetically and environmentally. But service is fast and efficient (ask for Sandy!) and Vintage Washington’s wood cabinetry and wine-barrel decor are warm and welcoming.

Thanks to its location before security, Vintage Washington is also a convenient place for local residents to meet and greet friends, family or colleagues when they are traveling through.

And stay tuned.

At press time, Vintage Washington was revamping its wine and food menus to better reflect the needs and wants of its best customers—road warriors, cruise-ship passengers and holiday travelers. Hours are 8:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily; cocktails and microbrews are also available.

Located past the security gates, so an option only for ticketed passengers, you’ll discover Vino Volo in the lively Central Terminal Marketplace. A more wide-ranging enterprise than the single-location Vintage Washington, Vino Volo stores are located in airports across the country.

The retail chain’s name translates as “wine flight” in Italian and it aims to “revolutionize how people experience wine.” Vino Volo accomplishes this with knowledgeable wine associates and a vino chart that divides wines into four categories: Bright, Rich, Light and Brooding.

For example, the vino chart characterizes Australian Shiraz as bright, while a Northern Rhone Syrah (the same grape, but produced in France) is defined as brooding.

The Seattle branch of Vino Volo serves a rotating list of anywhere from 25 to 40 wines. Half hail from Washington and Oregon, with offerings from world-renowned boutique wineries such as Leonetti Cellar, Long Shadows Wineries, Fidélitas Wines and Brian Carter Cellars available by the glass, in tasting flights or by the bottle.

“The Seattle store has one of our largest retail selections,” according to Vino Volo spokesperson Sarah Evans. “Guests come in specifically to discover new Pacific Northwest wines that they can’t get anywhere else.”

Vino Volo’s small-plates menu includes smoked salmon rolls (a signature dish), Roasted chicken breast salad, braised pork tacos and a chocolate and cheesecake Duo.

Food can be boxed to go, and all wines poured are available by the bottle to take on the plane or ship home. Hours are 7 a.m. until 11 p.m. daily.

And don’t overlook Anthony’s, a locally owned collection of 22 seafood-centric restaurants and fish bars that started in 1969. Its sparkling outpost in Sea-Tac’s Central Terminal Marketplace, with runway and Olympic-Mountain views, offers the same menu items as its street-side locations.

We’re talking Northwest wines, microbrews and cocktails paired with fresh-shucked oysters, wild Alaskan salmon and blackberry cobbler. Breakfast is served from 6 a.m. to 10:15 a.m. daily, lunch and dinner from 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. everyday, with all menu items available to go.


Braiden Rex-Johnson is a Seattle-based cookbook author, food-and-wine columnist and blogger. Visit her online at or

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