Monday, January 26, 2015

Here we go again or Not Another Wine Village

This is crazy. Anyone dumb enough to invest in this deserves to lose their money. The tasting room boom is over. Get it, OVER. It was over in 2008. With over 800 tasting rooms in the state, the crowd has been diluted to a trickle. People are burned out on high prices, tasting fees, and snobby tasting rooms. Wine is cheaper at Total Wine and tasting is free.

First of all, to get to the raceway (from Seattle), you have to pass the Rattlesnake Hills Wine Trail. Prosser's Vintners Village, Prosser's strip-mall wineries, and Red Mountain. If you get that far, you are within striking distance of Walla Walla Walla. Just keep going going going.

Let's look at the Prosser's Vintners' Village, affectionately known as the 'Park and Drink.' We know sadly that Olsen Estates is gone and the building is available. Of the seven spots in the Wine Loft (a very cool idea), at least two spots are available, maybe three, I haven't been there for a while.

People, not in the industry, have the idea that this is the goose that laid the golden egg -- and then keeps on laying. Obviously, these people are not regular visitors to wine tasting rooms. Get over it. Woodinville has a corner on strip-mall/warehouse tasting rooms. Throw in Ste. Mickey's and Columbia and you can't compete.

Oh, and if that isn't enough, Plans Moving Forward for Downtown Kennewick's Wine Village. Wow, a competing wine village in beautiful downtown Kennewick (wherever that is). It just doesn't get any better. Their big concern is 'a water treatment plant which is necessary before any wineries would be able to move in.' Think about that. The big concern is waste water treatment - not the lack of wineries dumb enough to move in or the paucity of visitors to go there. Pardon me, but these people have shit for brains.

One of these crazy plots was explored in Yakima many years ago. Fortunately, it died without anyone turning a shovel of dirt. A promoter in Zillah tried to build one. (He didn't taste or buy any wine at my winery, so I knew he was full of shit.)

My idea for these folks? A pot village modeled after Amsterdam where you can walk from shop to shop and sample weed. Now that's an idea that will bring them in. It might even get a wine writer or two.