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Great Northwest destinations: Westport Winery
Editor’s note: This is the first in an occasional series on destination wineries of the Pacific Northwest.
ABERDEEN, Wash. – Who would have thought a winery could work out when it’s so close to the ocean – and so far away from the vineyards?
Leave it to Kim and Blain Roberts to see opportunities when only the impossible presents itself. Together, the couple and their children, Dana and Carrie, have built one of the most enjoyable and popular destinations in an area known as just about anything except wine country.
The couple owned Lahaina Divers on Maui for many years before moving to the mainland. In 2007, they were urged by Don Tapio, a Washington State University agricultural extension agent in the region, to plant a vineyard and open a winery.
“It will be historic,” he told them.
They bought the land in February 2007 and opened the winery a year later, with Dana as winemaker and Carrie as general manager. Westport Winery is built as a scale replica of Grays Harbor Lighthouse. But this family was not satisfied with that. In fact, one thing is evident: The Roberts family is never satisfied.
Soon enough, the wine offerings expanded as the owners asked their customers what kinds of wines they wanted. That led to fruit wines, grape wines, sparkling wines, dry wines, dessert wines and more. Today, Westport offers something north of 30 different wines that will please most palates.
Westport Winery sculptures honor wines, help community
The Roberts family wanted to give back to its community, so it found creative ways to do this through its wines. For example, a red blend called “Bella” is an homage to the main character in the Twilight books, whose setting is up the Washington coast in Forks. Thus, sales from each bottle benefit the Mount Rainier chapter of the American Red Cross – and the winery holds blood drives. Bog Berry Blush, a sparkling cranberry wine, benefits the WSU Pacific Coast Cranberry Station and Museum. Captain Gray, a Gewürztraminer, benefits the Grays Harbor Symphony.
The list goes on – and 10,000-case Westport Winery donates thousands of dollars each month to regional charities.
Since the early days at Westport Winery, Kim Roberts has created outdoor visuals in the form of a sculpture garden. She has done a lot of the work herself but also hires artists to put together sculptures that go with the wines. For example, a giant guitar made from driftwood honors Kurt Cobain, the tortured lead singer of Nirvana who was born in nearby Aberdeen. Westport’s “Pinot Noirvana” is named for the singer. In 2012, the winery added a nursery to the outdoor garden. And in 2013, Kim Roberts unveiled themed gardens for Italy, France, England, Japan, Hawaii and Atlantis. And the family also purchased a nearby 40 acres for the purpose of creating an arboretum – a first for a U.S. winery.
The Westport Winery tasting room is always buzzing, whether it’s on a rare sunny summer day or a typically wet fall afternoon. Just off the tasting room is the restaurant that Westport opened in October 2010. It focuses on fresh, local ingredients, and the food is consistently delicious. Westport now has a full liquor license, so getting mixed drinks along with any of the winery’s offerings is no problem.
Bakery accompanies Westport Winery restaurant
In 2011, the family added a bakery to the restaurant, so it now creates beguiling desserts to go along with the great main dishes.
Westport also is pet-friendly, with six dogs and many cats living on the property.
“It’s usually Lulu and Curzon who meet you at the winery,” said Kim Roberts. “These two rare brown Chow Chows have the unique ability to understand both English and Klingon as they work for biscuits.”
In 2013, the winery created a dog park to make sure everyone who arrives at Westport has a good time. It also is building a nine-hole pitch-and-putt golf course at the winery.
Westport Winery amenities
- Gift shop
- Picnic area
- Live music
- Food for sale
- Plant nursery
- Grape maze
- Lavender labyrinth
- Wizard chess
- Putting greens
- Solar array
Nearby overnight accommodations recommended by Westport Winery
- Several options from beachfront hotels and B&Bs to condos and camping are available in nearby Westport.
Nearby coffee places recommended by Westport Winery
- Tinderbox Coffee Roasters
- Captain Jacks
- Overboard Espresso
Other activities to enjoy while visiting Westport Winery
- Pure, unadulterated sandy beaches on the Washington coast south of Westport are perfect for agate hunting, birding, kite flying, clam digging or wave watching.
- Several museums also are in the area, including the Westport Maritime Museum, Polson Museum, Aberdeen Museum, Northwest Carriage Museum, Ocean Shores Interpretive Center, Museum of the North Beach and Furford Cranberry Museum.
- Westport has a fishing marina that delivers fresh seafood daily – or you can charter a deep-water fishing trip of your own.
- Also remember to visit the Grays Harbor Lighthouse – the tallest lighthouse on the West Coast.