Many wineries can be found in unusual settings, but it’s safe to say that the future home of Swiftwater Cellars, near the Washington community of Cle Elum, will be unique.
Groundbreaking ceremonies are scheduled today for the new estate, which will be located in Suncadia, some 90 miles east of Seattle on the sunny side of the Cascade Mountains.
Suncadia is an all-seasons mountain resort, and the winery will be situated atop Coal Mine No. 9, overlooking the Rope Rider golf course. It will feature a tasting bar, restaurant, pro shop and special event facilities.
Swiftwater Cellars’ wines are sourced from select vineyards in the Pacific Northwest and tended to by veteran winemaker Tony Rynders of Tony Rynders Consulting. The first releases will be unveiled during the winery’s grand opening celebration, which is scheduled for the fall of 2010.
Founded in 2007, Swiftwater Cellars is the culmination of the Watts family’s 30-year dedication to top-quality agriculture. Founder Don Watts, Chairman of Watts Brothers Farming and Frozen Foods of Kennewick, Wash., had this to say:
“Our family’s vision is to provide a wonderful experience for our visitors, complete with fine wine and warm hospitality in a casually elegant resort setting. We’re thrilled to collaborate with Tony Rynders, who has a proven track record for crafting fantastic wines. And we’re excited to showcase some of our fruit from the Zephyr Ridge vineyard we’ve been tending since 1994.”
Swiftwater Cellars’ boutique selection of wines will include inaugural releases of red and white Bordeaux blends, along with a Syrah sourced from Washington’s Columbia Valley and a Pinot Noir from Oregon’s Willamette Valley.
For winemaker Tony Rynders, flexibility in sourcing is critical.
“The Watts family has been farming Zephyr Ridge vineyard for 15 years and well understands the link between high-quality fruit and fine wine. We are blending the best of both worlds, combining our estate fruit with other top vineyard sources in Oregon and Washington to showcase what the Pacific Northwest has to offer.”
The wines are currently produced at Artifex in Walla Walla, Wash., and will be made at the winery beginning with the 2010 harvest.
â€œSwiftwater Cellars is a very exciting addition to Suncadia, and we anticipate it will become a beloved addition for residents and guests,” said Tom Luersen, senior vice president of Suncadia. “We are very pleased to see the Watts family continue to invest in the community and build upon the spirit of family and legacy that we value.”
The winery site housed Coal Mine No. 9, which operated from 1930 to 1963. The neighboring town of Roslyn, best known today as the filming location for “Northern Exposure,” was founded in 1886 — three years before Washington State was admitted to the Union. It was home to a diverse mix of pioneering nationalities who contributed a rich local tradition.