Lake Chelan

Tipplers throw back a crisp white at Lake Chelan.

Photo Courtesy Jacquelynn Brynn/Lake Chelan Tourism Promotion Group

Autumn is harvest time in the vineyards of Lake Chelan. There are wines to taste, grapes to stomp, and ferries to ride at the Lake Chelan Crush Festival, which runs for two weekends, Sept 30–Oct 2 and Oct 7–9.

The Lake Chelan area, besides having the largest natural lake in Washington (50 miles long!), is home to stellar trails on Echo Ridge, a multitude of farmers markets, 200 acres of vineyards, and 19 wineries —there’s a reason they call it “Wine Valley.”

Friday marks the opening of the Crush festivities with the Sunset Crush Wine Gala from 6–9pm. It takes place on the beach of Lake Chelan Shores Resort, where guests will schmooze with some of Washington’s finest winemakers, taste wine and champagne, and sample the cooking of Erik Cannella, chef at local eatery Cafe Manson.

Throughout both festival weekends, local wineries will open up for live concerts, barbecues, and more. You can even join in on the grape crushing and pressing at Hard Row to Hoe, or partake of the make-your-own-caramel-apple bar at Vin du Lac.

“I almost think the winter and the fall are more beautiful and spectacular times to visit,” says Erin McCardle, executive director of the Lake Chelan Wine Growers Association. “It’s an undiscovered gem…one of the best places to visit [in the] off season.”