AWG Correspondent

Denise Gangnes

Silvara Vineyards Photos

Silvara Vineyards Review

Region: Washington

Reviewed: December 28, 2012 by Denise Gangnes
Published: January 26, 2013

Amongst the kitschy Bavarian-themed retailers and wine sellers in this vacationer’s mecca, one winery stands out as the Napa/Sonoma equivalent of a high-end, destination winery…Silvara Vineyards. Sitting majestically on a knoll overlooking the Peshastin hills and above the tourist haven Smallwood’s Harvest, Silvara offers a retreat from the throngs of visitors crowding the narrow streets downtown.

The Place:  Silvara Vineyards is the brainchild of winemaker Gary Seidler and golf pro Cindy Rarick. Evidently the golf business has been very, very good for Cindy, as they have created a beautiful lodge-like tasting room just far enough outside Leavenworth to accomplish two goals: provide an estate-like wine tasting experience and supplement wine sales with an ideal location for weddings, special events and fun wine club experiences.

Truly a winery for all seasons, the interior is large and comfortable. In winter, a massive, cozy fireplace shakes off the chill. In the summertime, large doors open to ample outdoor seating, either on chairs or by spreading a blanket on the grassy plateau. Whether inside or out, massive windows take in the magnificent view of the upper Wenatchee River valley.

The Experience:  Leavenworth was blessed with a blanket of snow during the 2012 Christmas season, and while visiting friends who live in this idyllically pastoral region, I insisted Silvara was THE winery to visit (the photos reflect a holiday welcome and the 24 inches of snow that had fallen the weeks before our arrival). We thoroughly enjoyed their “spare no expense” attitude in decorating the tasting room in flocked, vine-twisted trees, mega-sized snowflakes and jolly snowmen. The challenging driveway evidently deterred many traction-challenged visitors, so we quickly got comfortable on the overstuffed leather couches while the amiable serving host delivered our tasting choices in large engraved wine glasses.

This was my 4th visit to Silvara (averaging one visit a year since their opening). Each time, the winery’s amenities and landscape have progressed, and I look forward to returning in the warmth of the summer to enjoy both the wines and the Wenatchee Valley view.

The Wines:  Silvara makes nine wines, three whites and six reds. Whereas you can get many whites “downtown” with price tags in the teens, Silvara’s counterparts start at $22/bottle – again more reflective of a Napa/Sonoma wine. The price list goes up from there, landing on a $32 Syrah ($29 for wine club members). I particularly like their Chardonnay; as bright and crisp as the apples in the Wenatchee valley. A few bottles of the 2008 Syrah and the Klipsun 60/40 Cab/Merlot blend made it home with us over the pass (fun fact: the renown Klipsun vineyards were named after the Chinook Indian word for sunset).

Insider's Tip:  When visiting during the winter, note that the winery is closed from February 17 through April 1; it’s not hard to venture a guess that one reason for the closure could be that it’s impossible to get up the windy driveway in the snow without traction tires or a 4-wheel drive vehicle. Fortunately, we were properly equipped. Theoretically, a robust person could park at Smallwood’s ample parking lot and walk up the hill, but the trek down with a case of wine could prove disastrous. Also, the tasting room’s popularity for holding private events means they are booked more than the average winery. Call ahead to make sure they are open before you make the trek.

Address & Contact Information: 77 Stage Road Leavenworth, Washington 98826. Telephone: 509-548-1000, email:, website: Tasting Hours: May 1-Dec 31: Daily 11:00-5:00; Jan 1-Apr 30: Fri-Mon 11:00-5:00.

Overall Rating:  

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