My Aunt Ceil’s recommendation to check out the highly-acclaimed China Bend Winery brought us to the Eastern Washington-Canadian border this past July. (My bf, Dave; my brother, Marco; and me.) Looking back on the visit now, the entire experience seems like a dream…
China Bend Winery itself is its own little world. Another Universe, really. It was as if we had stepped into the future AND the past, simultaneously – a 1960s hippie community, and a future Utopian society on a planet very similar to ours, located many Earth AND Light Years away.
Surrounding the area were breathtaking mountain views and rolling hills, winding roads framed with canopies of forest green, blue skies with incredible cloud formations and, of course, Lake Roosevelt, which during our trip, reflected all of the surrounding serenity. To say I was enchanted would be an understatement. To say, I’ve since fantasized about leaving my current reality for a simpler life would be the truth. A kind of life where everyone lives off the land, shares, trades, eats, drinks and lives a merry existence. Maybe a kind of life the hippie generation’s renowned “Israel Love Family” had hoped to have, before some went their separate ways, while the ones still remaining opened China Bend Winery, a business rooted in humble beginnings and today is so successful it has a huge following.
Immediately upon entering the China Bend property, we were led to a rather bumpy rural road. The ride was totally worth it, though, even after a three hour drive from Spokane.
Soon, we saw China Bend’s perfectly manicured vineyard, Victory’s Organic Gardens (the most charming garden I’ve ever seen), the quaint cottage-like kitchen and tasting room, and napping dogs, whom later entertained us. Plus, visitors and friends of the owners, some engaging in a private chat, and others sitting in quiet reflection and meditation, almost all of whom were sipping wine.
Oh, the wine! My number one objective was to see if it lived up to all its hype. China Bend Winery prides itself on being sulfate-free and, therefore, hangover-free. In their words, “Like No Other Wines You Have Ever Tasted! Like No Other Feeling From Drinking Wine!”
Loyalty, the husband of Victory, was our tasting guide that afternoon. We sampled about eight different wines, which I would agree were indeed unique. Each one had a more distinctive grape taste and, overall, a lighter feel. After a long journey, sips of wine were quite refreshing. And, I enjoyed the nice, gentle buzz that soon followed.
I wasn’t a fan of the rosé (but I’m just not a fan of rosés in general). I DID, however, enjoy all of the others we sampled. My favorites were, appropriately, Victory Red and China Bend’s premium Ancient Secrets, also known as “The Elixer of the Gods.” (Hanging on the wall of the tasting room was a painting of an Ancient Sumerian. This prompted a conversation about Ancient Astronaut Theory between Marco, Loyalty and I. Loyalty was quite knowledgeable on the topic. I have a feeling AAT might have inspired the name of this premium wine.)
China Bend Winery’s wine was indeed fabulous and unlike anything I’d experienced before. Yes, it lived up to its hype! But, that’s not what I’ll remember most about China Bend Winery. No. The OWNERS are what I’ll remember. Victory and Loyalty were the standout highlights of our visit.
We could have spent hours talking to Loyalty. He was an interesting guy, and very friendly. He even did a short jamming session with Marco on the bongos. Victory was a little more reserved, but equally as charming, and an unstoppable force in the culinary arena. During our tasting, she brought out a generous helping of the most incredible garlic dip I’ve ever tasted. (And that’s saying a lot, as I LOVE garlic.) It was out of this world! She also brought out a big bowl of truly gourmet popcorn, totally seasoned to perfection. I was bummed to know that I’d be missing out on their Garlic Faire, taking place the following month, but filed it away in my mental “Future Things to Do” cabinet. (China Bend Winery has a lot of amazing events throughout the year.)
Dave, Marco and I walked around the large grounds, which extended all the way to the lake. Just an FYI: You can drive, boat or FLY into China Bend Winery. Good to know!
Here are a few photos of the beautiful property and our visit (I cannot wait to go back again… and, next time, stay in their bed & breakfast. Yes, they offer that, too.)…
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