During a windy day in Woodinville, we decided to visit Northwest Totem Cellars (www.nwtotemcellars.com), a winery that is only open once a month.
This winery is operated out of Mike and Kate Sharadin’s home, just off Woodinville -Redmond Road.
The first thing you notice about this “home in the woods” is the great Northwest touches throughout the property. The winery operations take up the outbuildings and garage, while the sport court doubles as a crush pad.
As we approached the main house, we were greeted by Luke, the resident dog of the winery. Luke escorted us to the tasting room, which is the kitchen and dining area of the main home.
Mike, the winemaker, poured us five different wines that day, all red.
The first was a grenache, which we decided was a great example of a white wine drinker’s red. It would be perfect on a sunny day with smoked salmon.
We also tasted Mike’s merlot, Qo-né (Cab Franc Blend), sangiovese and recently bottled cabernet sauvignon.
All were excellent examples of locally made small-batch wines with our favorites being the sangiovese and the cabernet sauvignon.
Mike only makes about 1,500 cases of red wines and 600 cases of white wines a year, so the odds of these wines being available for very long are low.
Mike sells 80 percent of all of his wines to the local community, both directly from his home and through local businesses like Village Wines, Italianissimo, and Russel’s.
An interesting feature of NW Totem Cellars red wines is that they all come with a glass cork.
Mike explained to us that this is an attempt to be more wine and environmentally friendly; as glass closures can be recycled.
It also eliminates the problem of a “corked” wine.
Mike’s favorite part about the wine business is meeting eclectic people (We think he was referring to us).
He pointed out that wine has a way of making people interact and he is certainly a people person.
What got Mike into the business was his interest in the multiple areas of winemaking, including agriculture, business, engineering and art.
Mike is the only employee at Northwest Totem Cellars. During crush season, he relies on volunteers to help him sort grapes and bottle the wine.
Volunteering during crush season is a very popular thing to do in Woodinville and you are guaranteed to have a great time at Northwest Totem Cellars.
He also enlists the help of his wife Kate, who designed the striking labels for the winery, which feature a totem pole and eagle against a Northwest sunset.
Even though the Sharadin home is only open to tasting once a month, Mike does over 100 events a year around the community, many of them for charities.
The best way to find out about where Mike will be pouring wine is to check his website, join the NW Totem Cellars Facebook page, or join the email mailing list. That is how we found out about the recent Cabernet release he did.
Northwest Totem Cellars is located at 15810 NE 136th Place in Redmond.
They do not charge for tastings, as Mike says: “If you like our wines, we hope you buy them!”
Their wines are priced from $30-$35 and they also offer a half bottle of select wines for $19 — good for those times you just want a couple glasses of wine and don’t want to open a full bottle.