By Kori ~ December 6th, 2010.
When I first heard that a new wine, food, and special events venue was opening in Seattle, I was intrigued especially given the high quality of wineries that were on board to have tasting counters. Last week, we attended the grand opening party for URBAN enoteca, and I am thrilled to report that my expectations were easily exceeded. It is not just another tasting room or wine bar. Well, it is those things but also so much more.
The brainchild of owner Terry Thompson, URBAN enoteca is located in Seattle’s SODO district in a converted warehouse. Once inside, however, it boasts a hip and trendy vibe with high wood beam ceilings, skylight, water feature, fireplace, and comfortable leather couches and chairs. The wine tasting room features tasting counters for seven premier Washington State wineries including Cave B Estate Winery, Côte Bonneville, Five Star Cellars, Fidelitas, Fielding Hills Winery, Kiona Vineyards and Winery, and McCrea Cellars. There are six additional counters available, and I expect that they will be filled soon with other wineries looking for a Seattle location. Each tasting counter is licensed and bonded as another location for each of the wineries. Each winery is responsible for staffing their own counter and setting their own prices. Hugh Shiels, owner of Côte Bonneville which was the first winery to sign on to this new venture, gave us a grand tour of the facility. He credits his daughter Kerry, the Côte Bonneville winemaker, with seeing the potential of URBAN enoteca when the building was still just an old warehouse.
When guests enter the building, they check in at the concierge desk, have their credit card swiped, and are given a house card to be used for all food and wine purchases. In the wine tasting room, guests can choose to purchase 1.5 oz tastes, 5 oz glasses, or full bottles. Each winery will also have some stock on hand, so that guests can purchase cases if they’d like. The tasting room is furnished with comfortable lounge seating and a fireplace so guests are encouraged to sit, relax, and visit while enjoying the wine and small bites prepared by James Beard award-winning Chef Jason Wilson and his team from Crush. Based on the concept of the Press Club in San Francisco, URBAN enoteca’s goal is to bring some of the best wines in Washington State to one location that is convenient to the large population in the greater Seattle area as well as the many tourists that visit each year.
There are three unique rooms available for private events. The special events space will allow the wineries to host winemaker dinners, release events, and so forth. It is also available to rent for special events such as weddings and business meetings. The Riddling Room is the largest with seating for 230 that can accommodate weddings or corporate parties. Blanc de Blanc is a contemporary room furnished in all white and ideal for bridal showers or as a bridal room during a wedding. The Barrel Room is the masculine counterpart to Blanc de Blanc and can serve as a groom room during a wedding or as a boardroom for corporate meetings.
The facility is equipped with a full-service kitchen for preparing those small bites and for catering special events. Chef Jason Wilson is the exclusive caterer.
URBAN enoteca is scheduled to open to the public later this week. I am anxious to go back and take some friends with me. This is a great venue to enjoy some of the best wines in Washington State and visit with representatives from those wineries without having to travel across the state to do so.
Filed under: American Wine, General Wine Information, Washington State Wine, Wine Bars