Wines & Vines Home
   
 
Welcome Guest
LOGIN |  CREATE ACCOUNT
 
ADVERTISEMENT
 
 
 
09.03.2010  
 

Washington's New Destination Winery

Is this the future for wineries outside traditional wine country?

 
by Paul Franson
 
 
Swiftwater
 
The 46,000-square-foot Swiftwater Cellars is located high in the Cascade Mountains.
Cle Elum, Wash. -- A fancy new winery opening in Washington on Sept. 10 may show the future of American wineries -- or the antithesis of what many consider a traditional winery.

Swiftwater Cellars is a capacious, 46,000 square-foot edifice, home to the Hoist House restaurant, a wine tasting bar, private dining rooms and extensive lounge area overlooking a golf course at the Suncadia Resort, high in the Cascade Mountains 80 miles east of Seattle. A 14-room B & B and 22 shared-ownership cottages are planned for the future.

The winery structure resembles an old mountain lodge, crafted of concrete realistically textured and painted to look like wood. Its distressed new wood beams and steel interior supports also aptly suggest an old mine. Swiftwater Cellars is near the historic coal-mining town of Cle Elum, and it sits atop an abandoned coal mine, No. 9. Nearby Roslyn served as the model for the quirky TV series “Northern Exposure,” and “Twin Peaks” also was filmed nearby.

The building contains a large winery basement with a capacity for 12,000 cases, and it will produce 4,500 cases of wine this year from grapes grown in Eastern Washington and Oregon. At an altitude of 2,000 feet, the site is too high to grow grapes reliably, but vines may be planted as landscaping. At any rate, in Washington it’s common to transport grapes from remote vineyards to wineries.

The Swiftwater winery contains barrel rooms and other cellar areas for parties, and a private bottle storage cellar with faux stone walls for its club members.

Nashville recording band Lonestar will play at the grand opening party Sept. 11 and entertain Swiftwater Cellars’ Black Diamond club members during a VIP meeting before the show. 

Suncadia is an upscale golf- and family-oriented resort that is reportedly suffering from the economic downturn, but it boasts a lounge, inn, restaurants and many other amenities as well as public and private golf courses.

Owner Don Watts, who farmed 25,000 acres of vegetables until he sold to ConAgra in 2008, sees the facility as a destination, but he's also serious about the wine.

He plans to produce two Cabernets, Syrah and a Sémillon-Sauvignon Blanc blend from Washington, plus two Pinot Noirs from Oregon’s Willamette Valley. He will probably augment that with other wines. He anticipates that his former production of 2,500 to 3,500 cases may be inadequate.

To make the wine, he hired former Gundlach-Bundschu director of winemaking Linda Trotta from California as associate winemaker to manage daily winemaking operations and work with consulting winemaker Tony Rynders.

Trotta joined Gundlach-Bundschu in 1989 and during her time there completed harvests at Santa Monica Winery in Chile’s Rapel Valley and at Rupert & Rothschild in Paarl, South Africa. Originally from Southern California, she graduated from the University of California, Davis, with a bachelor of science degree in fermentation sciences. The cellar includes top equipment including many small fermentors.

As a destination winery, Swiftwater is what many vintners in areas with relatively little winemaking tradition and attractions might aspire to build. Ironically, such facilities are outlawed in Napa Valley, where county regulations consider agriculture, not tourism, the best use of the land. Napa County bans inns, restaurants and many potentially profitable uses such as hosting weddings and corporate events unrelated to wine marketing.

Of course Kittitas County, Wash., doesn’t already have hundreds of wineries, and Washington wine-centric cities like Prosser, Pasco and Walla Walls are activity seeking tourist-oriented facilities and attractions.

SHARE »
Close
LATEST READER COMMENTS
 
 
Posted on 09.06.2010 - 15:36:31 PST
 
1) The owner's name is Don Watts, not Tom.
2) Climate -- not elevation -- is not the factor. A bit of research on the Snake River Valley will show that grapes grow well at 2,700 feet.
3) Pasco is not a wine-centric city. There are ZERO wineries in the city limits. Claar is a production facility. Preston and Gordon Brothers are in the county. Richland or Kennewick are been better examples.
 
Tank Farmer
 
Kennewick, WA USA
 
 
CURRENT NEWS INDEX »


 
Wines & Vines Home
 
866.453.9701 | 415.453.9700 | Fax: 415.453.2517
65 Mitchell Blvd., Ste. A San Rafael, CA 94903
info@winesandvines.com
Wine Industry Metrics
 
Off-Premise Sales » Month   12 Months  
January 2015 $623 million
7%
$7,912 million
5%
January 2014 $583 million $7,514 million
     
Direct-to-Consumer Shipments » Month   12 Months  
January 2015 $75 million
-3%
$1,818 million
15%
January 2014 $77 million $1,584 million
     
Winery Job Index » Month   12 Months  
January 2015 259
26%
233
15%
January 2014 205 203
     
 
MORE » Released on 02.13.2015
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Direct To Consumer
Wine Shipping Report
2015
 
Download full report »
 
 

Practical Winery & Vineyard Library
 
Search the PWV archive »
 
 

CALENDAR
  • March 2-5
     
    Decouvertes en Vallee du Rhone
     
  • March 4
     
    Innovation + Quality
     
  • March 4-6
     
    Michigan Wine & Grape Conference
     
  • March 12
     
    Central Coast Insights
     
  • MORE »
 

READER COMMENTS
 
Article: Scurlock joins wine hall of fame »
 
Congratulations David!
Reader: Guest
 
Article: Wineries Cautioned About Internet 'Ads' »
 
I guess my first question would be why is there a three tier system to...
Reader: Guest
 
Article: Wine on the Rocks »
 
Great potential! Mineralities are sought after and can be found in these rock formations with...
Reader: Bruce Coulthard
 
Article: 90% of U.S. Consumers Can Buy Wine Direct »
 
You say that 90% of the consumers can buy wine direct. Really? In most cases...
Reader: Guest
 
Article: Wineries Cautioned About Internet 'Ads' »
 
It is an unfortunate fact that the regulations have no understanding of modern technology and...
Reader: Paul Mabray
 
 


Directory/Buyer's Guide — Your Wine Industry Marketplace
 
 
WINERY SEARCH
 
 
Advanced Search »
SUPPLIER SEARCH
   by Product
 by Company Name or Brand
 
Browse by Category »
2015 Directory/Buyer's Guide
The Wines & Vines Directory and Buyer's Guide
 
 
EXPANDED ONLINE SEARCH INCLUDED WITH PURCHASE
 
ORDER NOW »
 
LEARN MORE »
 
 
Wines & Vines Magazine
 
 
LEARN MORE »
 
SUBSCRIBE »
 
Digital Edition Now Available!
Wines & Vines Digital Edition Now Available
 
LEARN MORE »
 
ORDER NOW »
 
 
The Wines & Vines Online Marketing System
 
The Industry Standard winery marketing application
 
FREE LIVE DEMO »
 
VIEW VIDEO »
 
 
 
 
Latest Job Listings
 Production Financial A...
 St. Helena, CA
Finance
 Sales Representative O...
 San Pedro, Long Beach, Lakewood And Cerritos, CA
Sales and Marketing
 Vineyard Manager
 Santa Rosa, CA
Vineyards
 Enologist-Assistant Wi...
 Mendocino, CA
Winemaking and Production
 Assistant Winemaker
 Sebastopol, CA
Winemaking and Production
 Hospitality Specialist
 Napa, CA
DTC, Tasting Room and Retai
 Tasting Room Sales Ass...
 Woodinville, WA
DTC, Tasting Room and Retai
 Public Relations Senio...
 New York, NY
Sales and Marketing
 Tasting Room Host & Sa...
 Sebastopol, CA
DTC, Tasting Room and Retai
 Production Manager Pos...
 Calistoga, CA
Winemaking and Production
 
More Job Listings >>
Follow Us On:
 
 





Home  |  About Us  |  Editors  |  Subscribe  |  Print Edition  |  Digital Edition

Advertise  |  Site Map  |  Contact Us  |  Privacy Policy
 
 
Copyright © 2001-2015 by Wine Communications Group, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
No material may be reproduced without written permission of the Publisher.
Wines&Vines does not assume any responsibility for any unsolicited manuscripts or materials.