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  
February 2015 $643 million
7%
$7,954 million
5%
February 2014 $601 million $7,560 million
     
Direct-to-Consumer Shipments » Month   12 Months  
February 2015 $132 million
4%
$1,823 million
14%
February 2014 $126 million $1,598 million
     
Winery Job Index » Month   12 Months  
February 2015 275
26%
238
16%
February 2014 219 206
     
 
MORE » Released on 03.13.2015
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Direct To Consumer
Wine Shipping Report
2015
 
Download full report »
 
 

Practical Winery & Vineyard Library
 
Search the PWV archive »
 
 

CALENDAR
  • March 31
     
    Wine Market Council Consumer Research Conference
     
  • April 17
     
    Newsom Grape Day
     
  • April 17-19
     
    Earth Day Food & Wine Festival
     
  • April 21
     
    Ahead of the Curve
     
  • MORE »
 

READER COMMENTS
 
Article: Is Organic Grape Growing Possible in the East? »
 
Some Long Island, NY, vineyard farmers are already using nearly organic methods. They have worked...
Reader: envcat
 
Article: Loosening AVA Regulations »
 
When I see 'Napa Valley'on a wine label, it doesn't only suggest the flavors I...
Reader: Guest
 
Article: Loosening AVA Regulations »
 
I should be able to live in MA, buy Napa, CA grapes, truck them across...
Reader: Guest
 
Article: The Stark Disparity in Critical Tastes »
 
The disparity is all well and good for consumers. More opinions and a kind of...
Reader: Guest
 
Article: Commercial Teaching Winery for the Midwest »
 
Please visit www.lakemichigancollege.edu/wine for more information about the program.
Reader: Guest
 
 


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
 Event Co-Ordinator
 San Francisco, CA
Sales and Marketing
 Tasting Room Associate...
 Calistoga, CA
DTC, Tasting Room and Retai
 New Wine Importer Look...
 New York, NY
Sales and Marketing
 Tasting Room Associate
 Dundee, OR
DTC, Tasting Room and Retai
 Chicago Sales Rep Need...
 Chicago, IL
Sales and Marketing
 North Central Regional...
 Chicago, Detroit, IL
Sales and Marketing
 District Sales Manager...
 Tampa, Ft. Lauderdale, FL
Sales and Marketing
 Wine Sales Representat...
 Manhattan, NY
Sales and Marketing
 Visitor Center Busser/...
 Rutherford, CA
DTC, Tasting Room and Retai
 Assistant Winemaker
 Los Olivos, CA
Winemaker/Enologist
 
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.