Columbia winery expansion nearing completion


Max Zellweger, president of Columbia Winery, says the blue look will be traded in for a "warmer color."
Photo by Jeff Switzer/Woodinville Weekly.

Columbia Winery by Jeff Switzer
The Columbia Winery is looking at mid-May for completion of their new banquet hall, additional production space, more parking, and remodeling.
   The expansion adds 25,000 square feet, increasing the building by 33 percent: 12,000 square feet for production, 2,500 for office space, and the remainder for the meeting rooms, banquet areas, and kitchen.
   The banquet hall will seat 250, and will feature a large outdoor patio and more greenspace for wedding receptions. A new smaller, more intimate gathering room will seat about 30.
   In addition, a 10-foot bike and pedestrian trail around the outer edge of the property is being finished, connecting to Redhook Brewery's existing trail. Visitors will also notice the retail and tasting areas have been remodeled, adding a large oak tasting bar to match the existing oak paneling.
   "This has been a very exciting process from the beginning," Zellweger said. "We all felt we needed to do something. The facility was not designed to handle the large number of visitors that come through here."
   Zellweger added that the blue exterior will be traded in for a warmer color, as the blue "may be a little cold for the area." Painting is expected to begin within the next two weeks.
   Zellweger's Associated Vintners, which owns Columbia Winery in Woodinville and Paul Thomas Winery in Sunnyside, purchased Covey Run Winery on Mar. 4, making Associated Vintners the third largest winery in the state.
   Covey Run was founded in 1982 by farmers more associated with fruit orchards than grapes. "Covey Run brings a good mix to the wineries represented by Associated Vintners," said Simon Siegl, executive director of the Washington Wine Commission.
   Currently, Stimson Lane--owners of Chateau Ste. Michelle, Columbia Crest, Domaine Ste. Michelle, Snoqualmie, and Whidbey Wineries--has the biggest piece of the pie with about 60 percent of the market, followed by The Hogue Cellars, which takes about 10 percent.
   With the acquisition of Covey Run, Associated Vintners market share puts them at third largest in the state with about 6.6 percent.