72 hours in Vancouver, Wash. Wine Country

September 13, 2018 

Back when I lived in Vancouver USA there were two local adult beverages — Lucky Lager and its nondescript generic sister BEER.

Thankfully, the scene has changed in the past four decades since I was a student/athlete at Clark College, although my teammates enjoyed the challenges posed by the rebuses under those bottle caps of Lucky.

Today, The Waterfront Vancouver USA is coming to life, a $1.5 billion project spread across a former lumber mill site and one that’s poised to transform the way the rest of the Pacific Northwest views the city and Southwest Washington. It’s no coincidence that highly acclaimed Maryhill Winery in the Columbia River Gorge recently formalized plans for a satellite tasting room near the new and tony Grand Street Pier.

“A super-high percentage of our visitors at Maryhill come from Vancouver and Portland, so we’re really giving those club members and new customers year-round access,” said Maryhill co-owner Craig Leuthold.

While there are fewer than two dozen wineries and tasting rooms, a fair bit of wine history stems from Vancouver and Clark County. While the Lewis-Clark Valley deserves credit for the first large-scale commercial wine industry in the Pacific Northwest, the first grapes emerged from seeds sown in 1825 at Fort Vancouver. The late Walter Clore, Washington State University’s famed researcher, surmised they likely were Black Prince, a synonym for the Rhône Valley variety Cinsaut and also known as Schiava Grossa in northern Italy or as Trollinger in Germany.

Modern-day viticulture in Clark County got its real start about 20 miles north of Vancouver in La Center where Joan Wolverton — and to a lesser extent her husband, Linc — established Salishan Vineyards across 12 acres. The Wolvertons began in 1971 and made a name for their Pinot Noir. The late Mike Wallace of Hinzerling in Prosser, Wash., made the first estate wines for the Wolvertons, and Oregon icon Dick Ponzi also produced a 1978 Salishan Vineyards Pinot Noir that garnered critical acclaim.

In The Wine Project, however, author/winemaker Ron Irvine pointed out the struggles that the Wolvertons — and others since — have faced. The Wolvertons noted that either Clore or his colleague Chas Nagel discouraged them from planting in the first place.

“Even though the rainfall is not a problem for harvest, because generally August, September and October are especially dry, rainfall is common the rest of the year,” Irvine wrote. “Winter pruning is tough, wet work.”

Ash from Mount St. Helens to the east made the 1980 vintage troublesome for Salishan, but added a layer of complexity to the soil going forward. Her 1985 Vintner’s Reserve earned an invitation to the first International Pinot Noir Celebration in 1987. Two years later, the Salishan Vineyards 1986 Pinot Noir was awarded best of show at the 1989 Tri-Cities Wine Festival.

A neighbor of the Wolvertons planted a short-lived Pinot Noir vineyard, and yet that 60-acre site today would still be the largest in Clark County.

The lens of history looks back upon Joan Wolverton and sees a pioneer. Prior to becoming a vintner, she blazed the trail for female reporters at The Seattle Times, and she then followed Kay Simon of Chinook fame as the state’s first female winemakers.

In 2006, when Joan Wolverton turned 66 and Salishan Vineyards closed, that left Bethany Vineyards and English Estate Winery as the only commercial plantings in the county. A year later, Dan Andersen established Three Brothers Vineyard & Winery in Ridgefield. Now, the push of housing developments from Portland and Vancouver would seem to limit large-scale vineyard plantings.

“We’ve given thousands and thousands of cuttings away, but a lot of people plant them and after two or three years, they decide, ‘Hey, man, this is work!’ And that’s it,” chuckled Bethany’s Walt Houser. “Some people have called me the godfather for some of these other vineyards, but I’m just the old grandfather.”

Aside from Burnt Bridge Cellars, which works with some of the best vineyards in Washington, few wineries have received acclaim from critics or awards at West Coast wine competitions. The presence of Maryhill will change that dramatically.

Other significant forces around the state are taking an interest in Southwest Washington.

There is young Pomeroy Cellars, which is beginning to benefit from its friendship with the Shiels family — owners of cult producer Côte Bonneville in the Yakima Valley — and sourcing Cabernet Sauvignon from its renowned DuBrul Vineyard. The Williams family of Kiona Vineyards fame on Red Mountain continues to supply Moulton Falls Winery in Yacolt with all its grapes.

And while aggravating bridge traffic over the Columbia River doesn’t make it easier for wine lovers in and around Portland to drive north, on the other hand it seems to be helping folks in downtown Vancouver such as Burnt Bridge Cellars, which offers a neighborhood vibe and does a thriving walk-in business on weeknights.

“We’re not getting a whole lot of people coming across the bridge from Portland because you can’t get across the bridge,” said Burnt Bridge co-owner Greg Wallace. “The traffic is horrible, and the construction has made it super-difficult.”

His business partner, co-founder Mark Mahan, adds, “Besides, Portland is one of the most provincial medium-sized cities in the universe. If it’s from Oregon, they love it. If it’s not from Oregon, they think it’s not as good.”

Depending on which locals you talk to, their area now is called either “The Couve” or “Vantucky.” Regardless, the population of Vancouver stands near 175,000. That ranks behind Seattle, Tacoma and Spokane. When combined with hipster Portland, this represents the 23rd largest market in the country.

“It’s growing so fast that it’s becoming a part of Portland,” said Michelle Parker, co-owner of Koi Pond Cellars. “Really, there’s just that river that divides us.”

Her husband, Wes, points out, “We got here seven years ago, and there wasn’t a spark for wine. And it’s still not well-known. The people in Portland just go down into the Willamette Valley.”

They’ve noticed an uptick in the past couple of years, but as the North Willamette Valley has burnished its international reputation as wine country, Vancouver-area producers have struggled to lure wine lovers off Interstate 5 on their way to Seattle or on their way to Long Beach, Wash. The waterfront development will be a game-changer for the wineries, particularly for those with a presence downtown, and chefs such as Bonnie Brasure of Bleu Door Bakery and Elements on Main’s Miguel Sosa.

While a wine alliance exists, the SW Washington Winery Association appears to lack the cohesion and dedicated marketing found in other regions throughout the Northwest. Factions have emerged such as The Wineries of Ridgefield and the North Clark County Wine Trail.

Civic leaders have scheduled opening ceremonies for Vancouver Waterfront Park on Sept. 29, and government officials expect more than 200,000 visitors each year. The city is filled with optimism, and revenue from city’s 4 percent lodging tax has nearly doubled in the past six years.

Other than another Great Recession, it would seem only the troublesome Interstate 5 Bridge — with the east span 101 years old — could slow down Vancouver USA as the skyline moves on from the once-iconic cursive neon “L” of Lucky Brewing Co.

Clark County wineries

Vancouver city limits

Burnt Bridge Cellars

Mark Mahan co-founded Burnt Bridge in 2010 with oncologist/winemaker David Smith, took over a former auto garage on the corner of 15th and Broadway and set out to make some of Washington’s best wine from some of the best vineyards in the Northwest.

Success came quickly. That made it easier for Mahan to convince friend/former HP colleague Greg Wallace to become an owner when Smith stepped away to refocus on cancer research. In 2015, they hired Ben Stuart, a grad of Walla Walla Community College’s winemaking program. It was not a surprise their 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon and 2015 Syrah, each from Walla Walla Valley vines, both won unanimous double gold medals at the 2018 Cascadia International Wine Competition.

Reds from classic Bordeaux and Rhône varieties dominate this program of more than 20 bottlings, and there seemingly are no missteps anywhere in Stuart’s portfolio. Walk-in traffic from nearby homes and condos packs the tasting room on Thursday and Friday nights, and the hands-on Class Cooking seminars in adjacent commercial kitchen fill up weeks in advance. Stuart himself lives close enough to bike to the winery.

“We are hyper-local and Clark County is about 90 percent of our business,” Mahan said. “There are still a lot of people who really get it and really want really good wine.”

English Estate Winery

Not counting whatever went on inside the fort, history views English Estate Winery as Vancouver’s first winery and vineyard. The late Carl English, with cuttings from the Wolvertons, established Gravel Mine Vineyards in 1980 about four miles north of the Columbia River, and fifth-generation English Estate grows mostly cool-climate varieties such as Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris, Sèmillon and Gewürztraminer, although they also have Cabernet Sauvignon.

Heathen Estate Winery

Now part of the Heathen Brewing empire, that may explain why many of its wines now appear under crown cap. The lineup features Chardonnay, Pinot Gris and Riesling from the young estate wines, while Tempranillo and Zinfandel come from Southern Oregon with older vintages of Cab, Merlot and Syrah out of the Walla Walla Valley. Live music and weddings make this a multi-purpose winery and venue.

Koi Pond Cellars

Sonoma County native Wes Parker met his wife, Michelle, through church, and his family’s connections in the wine industry have served him well. A longtime friendship with Greg Fries of Duck Pond Cellars and Desert Wind Winery also has introduced him to well-regarded vineyards on the Wahluke Slope, Horse Heaven Hills and Dundee Hills. The Parkers, who have brought a younger vibe to Clark County, recently focused their retail efforts on a new tasting room/bistro in downtown Vancouver. There they showcase local musicians, artists and a lineup of award-winning wines that include Chardonnay and their blended Geisha Red, a tip of the hat by Wes to the time he spends in Japan as a world-class judge of koi. That passion has helped him become one of the leading importers of the fish in the U.S.

Ridgefield

Bethany Vineyard & Winery

Walt Houser’s happy-go-lucky, aw-shucks persona can be explained by the success of his estate winery, the devotion to a bucolic 48-acre vineyard that might be the most manicured in the Pacific Northwest, working alongside his winemaking grandson and the 20-year marriage to Beth.

“We sell everything we make right here, about 4,000 cases a year,” he chuckled. “I would like this to be larger, but I got old before it got larger.”

His age is 80, but he seems at least a decade younger. That teetotaling grandson joins him in the gym when they aren’t working on the wines or grooming vines dating back to 1999. Pinot Noir cuttings came from Biodynamic leader Maysara Vineyard in the Willamette Valley. He dabbles with the Russian variety Golubok while finding Zweigelt, an Austrian sibling of Lemberger, to be a deliciously approachable fit for this region.

“For us, it’s going to be a home run,” he said.

Walt gets to slow down a bit after selling a smaller, his much-warmer vineyard in the Columbia Gorge near Dallesport. And even though it is an ideal destination for a wine-country wedding, don’t go here looking for hot-tub wines. Houser finishes virtually every wine bone-dry, and his Riesling is a serious example.

Confluence Vineyards & Winery

This year, Jae and Greg Weber celebrate the 10th anniversary of their winery, which is just a few miles downstream from the confluence of the Columbia and Willamette rivers. They pull largely from the Walla Walla Valley for their Cabernet Sauvignon, Sangiovese and Syrah.

Gougér Cellars

Wisconsin pharmacist Gary Gougér began his eponymous winery a decade ago, but the man under the backwards Kangol beret has been serious about food and wine for much of his life, especially after a graduate degree in enology from University of Adelaide. (His ex-wife is Bonnie Brasure, the talented and affable chef/owner of Bleu Door Bakery in downtown Vancouver).

He’s used the delicious wines he sources from Washington, Oregon and California to drive traffic from I-5 into the firehouse that he bought for $425,000 and transformed, in 2013, into a winery, tasting room and bistro. His 2014 Syrah from California’s Suisun Valley earned a double gold at the 2018 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition. There are no bargains here — the least expensive are his reserve-style Chardonnay and three sparklers, each $35 — and he does sell small plates. Oh, and there are also the ice creams he makes using Muscat and Zin.

Stavalaura Vineyards & Winery

Joe Leadingham first planted Pinot Noir in 2003 as part of a school project for his daughter, Laura. He branched out by adding Zweigelt, but it was his work with the cool-climate red grape Golubok that brought national attention when he successfully petitioned the federal government to use the Russian variety on the label.

Three Brothers Vineyard & Winery

Dan Andersen and his brothers have grown their well-rounded family operation into 25 acres that encompass six varieties and produce 3,000 cases, which includes their Crazy Dog brand. They worked with estate Chardonnay, Gewürztraminer, Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir, Riesling and a few bigger reds while sourcing some from the Yakima Valley. They offer pizza, small plates and stage a summer concert series.

Windy Hills Winery

A significant investment by cigar-loving Dave Kelley and his wife, Karen, inspired by them to transform a Christmas tree farm into 10 acres of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Gris. It also required painstaking work with local government to turn their 25-acre corner of a well-heeled residential neighborhood into a showpiece tasting room for winemaker Bob Mayfield and events center, all managed by their daughter, a graduate of WSU’s vaunted hospitality school. Of particular interest should be the Malbec, Syrah and Viognier via their friends and fellow WSU Cougars at Cougar Crest in Walla Walla.

Battle Ground

Dolio Winery

After a successful international career in the semiconductor industry, Don Klase isn’t looking to go big, and they’ve actually designed their winery to cater to wine club members. Beyond summer, he and wife Pam cut the days of their weekend tastings by half.

“It’s a hobby out of control,” he deadpans, referring what’s happened since his first commercial vintage of 2013. Production ranges from 250-500 cases per year.

They’ve done a thoughtful job of branding, keeping it simple, clean and easy to remember as “dolio” is Italian for barrel. That fits their passion and portfolio — focusing on Barbera, Primitivo, Nebbiolo, Sangiovese and one of the best examples of Dolcetto produced in the Northwest. Their white program includes Pinot Grigio and two styles of the Austrian star, Grüner-Veltliner.

“We spent a lot of time educating people on Grüner, even then it’s still an uphill battle,” he said.

While they have a couple of vineyard blocks near their home and tasting room, they pull primarily from Inland Desert’s 250-acre vineyard west of Red Mountain. Among the many tools in Klase’s cellar are a new amphora and aged bourbon barrels for after-dinner reds.

Emanar Cellars

Five years ago, Mar and Richard Meyerhoefer opened their multi-layered Spanish-inspired wine brand and wine bar in Battle Ground Village, and their label is a phonetic mashup of their first initials — M and R. They feature their own wine, cast a rotating spotlight on some of their neighboring wineries and import Spanish bottles. Small plates are available Wednesday through Saturday, accompanied by live music on weekends.

Heisen House Vineyards

Michele Bloomquist has received acclaim for her restoration work on the historic Heisen House, built just after the Civil War, as well as big reds, including Sagrantino, and aromatic whites such as Muscat and Sauvignon Blanc. Her 15-acre estate is another that makes itself available for weddings.

Olequa Cellars

Brian Tansy’s small winery features a pair of hybrids - Maréchal Foch and Cayuga, a white wine hybrid developed at Cornell University and rarely found on the West Coast. He also works with Grüner and has earned a reputation for aromatic Gewürztraminer.

Rezabek Vineyards/Daybreak Cellars

Roger Rezabek and Donna Anderson established Rezabek Vineyards on 10 acres near East Fork of the Lewis River and launched Daybreak Cellars with the 2012 vintage. While they’ve made Tempranillo from the Columbia Gorge their signature wine at Daybreak, they have the components for traditional bubbles on their estate with five clones of Pinot Noir and four clones of Chardonnay as well as Pinot Meunier. Rezabek was the founding president of Southwest Washington Winery Association.

Rusty Grape Vineyards

Jeremy and Heather Brown’s tasting room ranks among the region’s most popular hangouts, finding a balance of wine and warm pies from their wood-fired pizza oven. There’s also the feature of being the rare winery in the region to operate a tasting room seven days a week.

Yacolt

Three wineries a short drive apart have formed the North Clark County Wine Trail — Moulton Falls Winery and Pomeroy Cellars with Dolio Winery to the west. They live up to their slogan of “Our wines are worth the drive.”

Moulton Falls Winery and Cider House

Joe and Susan Milea lost their cellarmaster to a famous Walla Walla winery, but there’s hope he will someday return and take over the Mountain Falls business. Kiona Vineyards is the key to their long lineup of wines, and they are among the few that the Williams family has sold some of its prized Lemberger grapes to. It’s an ideal match with their wood-fired pizza and outdoor concert stage.

Pomeroy Cellars

Dan Brink’s family have been part of the forestry industry for decades. However, membership in the Washington Agriculture and Forestry Leadership Program introduced him to Kerry Shiels — winemaker for highly acclaimed Côte Bonneville in the Yakima Valley. While there is an acre of Pinot Noir and an acre of Siegerrebe around the 700-acre estate in the bucolic Lucia Valley, Brink now buys famed DuBrul Vineyard fruit from the Shiels. Those grapes show up in much of his 1,000-case production and soon will lead to vineyard-designate reds.

“Kerry is kind of my mentor, and another connection through her is Co Dinn,” Brink said. “At the time, I didn’t realize how lucky I was to have those connections.”

Vineyards other than DuBrul fuel his second label called PPR, another family reference.

Getting there

On a day of smooth traffic, it’s about a 20-minute drive up Interstate 5 from downtown Portland and across the Columbia River to downtown Vancouver. It’s about 2.5 hours from Seattle to Vancouver, and less than four hours west of Walla Walla. There are 310 miles separating Vancouver, Wash., from Vancouver, British Columbia.

For the jetsetters, PDX ranks among the best airports in the country, and the terminal is 12 miles upriver from downtown Vancouver. The city also has Amtrak service, with the train station just a mile west of Hilton Vancouver.

Where to stay

Lodging options will dramatically change in the next few years, but a watershed moment for the downtown was 2005 when the upscale Hilton Vancouver and its 226 rooms opened. Part of an impressive and growing development surrounding Esther Short Park, the Hilton’s restaurant also carries a historical name — Grays — and just underwent a $1.7 million remodel that includes outside fire pits and patio seating for 70.

The Stevenson family, based in the Columbia Gorge, also owned the iconic Heathman Hotel in Portland when in 1997 they opened the Heathman Lodge in East Vancouver. They sold that historic hotel three years later, but guests still find a Heath Bar in their room upon check-in.

While the family’s regional hospitality empire has morphed into North Pacific Management, the Heathman still lives up to its name as a lodge in style and tucked quietly away just a block from Vancouver Mall west of Interstate 205. Well-executed cuisine and a regional wine list with a broad by-glass selection is available at Hudson’s, the Heathman’s on-premise restaurant.

While the wine industry views its lodging scene as somewhat corporate by nature, there are some worthy spots near downtown. The Briar Rose Inn B&B is eight blocks from Burnt Bridge Cellars. The Heathen Estate B&B is halfway between Vancouver and Battle Ground. The boutique Camas Hotel brings a Main Street charm reminiscent of staying in downtown McMinnville, Ore.

Vancouver’s riverfront makeover has led to construction of Hotel Indigo, a 138-room boutique lodging option and that will rise nine stories above the Columbia. Marriott has received permits to build two hotels. There’s been approval for a Best Western Premiere, and leaders of the Cowlitz Indian Tribe have floated the concept for a 400-room hotel.

Across the Columbia is the riverfront Red Lion Jantzen Beach, one of the longest-lived properties in the Red Lion portfolio. And Jantzen Beach remains a source for quick shopping that’s sans sales tax.

Where to eat

Overall, Portland’s renowned restaurant scene could do a better job of supporting its regional winemakers. The same goes for Vancouver, where there’s an influx of talented and imaginative chefs who maintain that southwest Washington winemakers need to earn their way onto the wine lists.

As a result, vintners note that wine tourists often drive across the century-old Interstate Bridge and dine in PDX. Although one of the Northwest’s top wine lists is just across the river at Salty’s on the Columbia, in Vancouver and beyond, it’s more of an “burger-and-beer” scene, as one winemaker described.

Bleu Door Bakery

Before you strike out on the morning wine trail, New England Culinary Institute grad Bonnie Brasure’s French-inspired café is worth the trip to the Uptown neighborhood that’s reminiscent of Wallingford in Seattle. She’s well into her third decade of baking in the Portland-Vancouver area, and her following prompted her to recently offer lunch, too. She has a keen palate, making her a sought-after caterer for wine events.

La Bottega

Among the most popular restaurants in the area, the wine list here offers some regional wine producers, but support of local producers lacks longevity.

http://www.labottegafoods.com/index.php

Daddy D’s Southern Style BBQ

Rather like AK’s at the Co-op in Walla Walla, Louisiana native Donnie Vercher launched his barbecue inside a convenience store. His success catering recently led him to open a storefront in the suburb of Woodland.

https://www.daddydsbbq.com/

Eatery at The Grant House

U.S. Grant visited here in 1879 along Officers Row of Fort Vancouver after his two-term presidency — and 14 years after Oregon named a post office in his honor, Grants Pass. The culinary program is led by well-known Portland chef Capers Ogletree.

https://eateryatthegranthouse.com/

Elements on Main

In the heart of downtown Vancouver, the Southwest Washington wine community seems to have found a new friend in Chicago native Miguel Sosa at this space formerly known as Willem’s on Main.

http://www.willemsonmain.com/

Grays at the Park

The on-premise restaurant for the Hilton Vancouver, chef Troy Lucio trained in Italy, Germany and California before landing in the Portland/Vancouver region. His work with regional ingredients is a stone’s throw from historic Esther Short Park.

https://www.graysatthepark.com/#masthead

Lapellah Restaurant & Bar

Wood-fired fare is presented with a Southern flair along Columbia House Boulevard east of downtown, and Heidi Grigg’s list is thoughtfully populated from Woodinville, Walla Walla and the north Willamette Valley.

https://www.lapellah.com/

Little Conejo

Chef-owner Mark Wooten quickly earned a reputation for authentic tacos, which includes produce from a farm he manages and explains why the masa is made on-premise. Expect mezcal, not Merlot here.

https://www.littleconejo.com/

McMenamin’s on the Columbia is an outlier within that company because it didn’t involve the renovation of a historic building, but its location on a former World War II shipyard along the Waterfront Renaissance Trail is ideal. And while its winery is across the river at Edgefield — the mecca for any fan, tours of McMenamin’s first brewery in Washington are available.

https://www.mcmenamins.com

Rally Pizza

There’s a splash of local wine and a buzz emanating along Mill Plain for European-styled pies and roasted vegetables by Alan Maniscalco of Ken’s Artisan Pizza fame. Save room for pastry maven Shan Wickham’s custard “concretes.”

http://www.rallypizza.com/

The Smokin’ Oak

This well-received barbecue with Texas roots caters to American whiskeys, local beers and regional rather than local wines.

http://www.thesmokinoakpit.com/

Tommy O’s Pacific Rim Bistro

The highly recommended cuisine here is a natural for fruity cool-climate whites and reds from the Northwest, but other than Burnt Bridge, no local winery cracks the wine list.

https://www.tommyosaloha.com/

Feast 316 — Camas

This sister restaurant to Miss Nola’s Cafe is a steakhouse that promotes cocktails over wine.

http://www.camasfeast316.com/

Hey Jack — Camas

Michelin-star chef Peter Rudolph returned after traveling abroad for a year, and he’s got folks fired up in his 40-seat bistro about his metal plate cooking — “la plancha” of regional ingredients.

https://www.heyjackkitchen.com/

Roots Restaurant & Bar — Camas

Brad Root, one of the top chefs on either side of the Columbia, is an alum of Wine Press Northwest’s Match Maker series. His wine list is emblematic of the area — regional rather than local.

http://www.rootsrestaurantandbar.com/

Coffee and treats

Thankfully, Portland’s well-earned reputation for coffee spills beyond the Columbia River and into Vancouver.

The Java House has been an institution in the Vancouver area for more than 25 years, thanks in part to its relationship with Portland roaster Panache and affable service from owners Lonnie and Cora Chandler.

Compass Coffee is a favorite for downtown denizens and does its own roasting. Relevant Coffee roasts its beans in lighter fashion and presents their take on Italian-style coffee in a way that keeps some coffee lovers from make a trip to the other side of the bridges. River Maiden, two miles east of Vancouver, relies on Stumptown for its beans and sells “Vantucky” T-shirts - the term they’ve been credited with creating.

Other spots for winesters include Latte da Coffee House & Wine Bar, and Fleur Chocolate for coffee, smoothies, scones and handmade chocolates. Battle Ground offers Dungeon Donuts, Earthen Cup Bistro and the Sweet Shoppe, while Cake Happy in Camas is known of its custom cakes and coffee.

Hockinson Market

This country store began operating in 1928, and the emerging wine industry is helping with traffic. Rewards include local ice cream, fresh-baked calzones, pizza by the slice and a cozy taproom featuring local cider, beer and friendly locals.

http://www.hockinsonmarket.com/

Wine bars/bottle shops

Cellar 55 Wine Bar, a few blocks north of Burnt Bridge Cellars, partners with Five Star Cellars from Walla Walla and VanArnam Vineyards in the Yakima Valley.

https://cellar55tastingroom.com/

Evergreen Wine Cellar

https://www.facebook.com/Evergreen-Wine-Cellar-161894737173092/

Niche Wine Bar

Leah Jackson offers more than 150 wines, 30 of them available by the glass, however her lively and eclectic downtown shop is dominated by affordable wines from beyond the Northwest.

http://www.nichewinebar.com/

¡Salud! Wine Bar in Camas now serves as a satellite location for Basel Cellars in Walla Walla, while also offering wine storage, which it refers to as Wineville.

https://www.saludwine.com/

Pacific NW Wine Co. between Vancouver and Camas sells bottles and operates a wine club.

https://www.pnwwineco.com/

New Seasons Market

For those who want to gather their own provisions, New Seasons at Fisher’s Landing also provides a broad selection of West Coast wine and accepts those used corks.

https://www.newseasonsmarket.com/

Total Wine & More

This national chain offers convenience and selection just west of Interstate 205 and Vancouver Mall

http://www.totalwine.com/

Other activities

An attraction in Clark County overlooked by too many is the Fort Vancouver Historical Site, administered by the National Park Service. There is an interpretive center, a replica of the fort near the Columbia Rivers, nicely maintained grounds and the Officers’ Row is a great way to knock out 10,000 steps or walk your dog.

The Waterfront Renaissance Trail is a 5-mile paved path between the river and high-end condos, shops and restaurants. This trail connects Esther Short Park and will see more foot traffic when the Grand Street Pier opens downstream. There’s also the Burnt Bridge Creek Trail, which spans eight miles of shared-use surface.

Waterfront Renaissance Trail

https://www.cityofvancouver.us/parksrec/page/waterfront-renaissance-trail-5-miles

Fort Vancouver Historical Site

https://www.nps.gov/fova/index.htm

West Coast League, a regional college baseball wood-bat league that includes other wine-country cities such as Corvallis, Kelowna, Portland, Walla Walla, Wenatchee and Yakima.

Transportation

Don’t want to walk or drive to a winery? Options include Aspen Limo Tours, The Vine Travelers and perhaps the multi-passenger, human-powered Couve Cycle Night Ride, which departs across the street from the Hilton.

Aspen Limo Tours branch

https://www.aspenlimotours.com/

Couve Cycle Tours

http://couvecycle.com/

The Vine Travelers

http://www.thevinetravelers.com/

ERIC DEGERMAN is co-founder and CEO of Great Northwest Wine. Learn more about wine at www.greathorthwestwine.com.

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