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The Tasting Room interiors of The Wineries at Woodland will include warm, rustic colors and natural wood. ##Image Courtesy of WIneries at Woodland
A lively patio connects two adjacent buildings in the design of the development. ##Image Courtesy of WIneries at Woodland

The Wineries at Woodland

Waterfront development a soon-to-be Washington destination

By Viki Eierdam

A day dedicated to tasting robust Washington reds in the Portland/Vancouver metro area currently has a few options, including a four-hour drive to Eastern Washington and fighting Seattle traffic en route to Woodinville. But soon, traveling a short distance north along I-5 to the quaint town of Woodland will offer another. 

Right off the freeway, The Wineries at Woodland will showcase eight to 12 tasting rooms in one location. After sampling through award-winning line-ups, patrons can eat at one of two bistro-style restaurants or procure accoutrements for a picnic lunch to be enjoyed along the banks of the picturesque Lewis River. The inviting waterfront setting will make visitors feel like they are on holiday, and they can be with a 60-room hotel and a day spa to round out the amenities. This is the ultimate wine tasting guest experience

After three years in the planning, The Wineries at Woodland is finally set to break ground by the fourth quarter of 2017 with a projected opening date in late spring of 2018. Occupying 38,000 square feet of retail space, the concept promises a wine destination all its own yet complementing the natural wonders surrounding this gateway city to the Mount St. Helens National Park. 

In 2006, Cascadia Development Partners purchased the land for its excellent visibility directly off the I-5 corridor, but when the recession hit, development was shelved. As the economy began to improve, Cascadia started receiving phone inquiries from Eastern Washington wineries and an entirely new direction was conceived.

“[The Eastern Washington wineries] were looking to get into the Portland market,” said David Copenhaver, president of Cascadia Development. “They’d infiltrated Woodinville and were interested in the visibility and good traffic from Seattle to Portland.”

Copenhaver knew immediately a strip mall setting with a couple wineries wouldn’t do the project justice or motivate wine lovers to make the drive. He started with three core wineries, built the commitment to eight and is now aiming for a final number of 10 to 12.

The location sells itself. Set immediately off an I-5 interchange, the property is bordered on one side by the Lewis River, of which Copenhaver intends to make full use. Two of the three winery buildings and one of the restaurants will be set along the banks with outdoor seating options and the ability for each winery to have river-facing VIP seating for club members.

Walking trails and landscaping along the river will create a private park for alcohol-friendly picnics, and a gazebo and small amphitheater area complete the design. Events will be planned year-round, including live music and activities themed around spring wine release and the fall grape harvest.

A demonstration vineyard and crush pad will allow for interactive presentations and educational opportunities for visitors.

Committed wineries include Alexandria Nicole Cellars and Basel Cellars; Eric McKibben of Pepper Bridge Winery and Amavi Cellars says he is “keeping a watchful eye on the project.”

The city of Woodland is a true diamond in the rough. Nearby attractions include the new ilani Casino Resort, the Sunlight Supply Amphitheatre and the Ridgefield Wildlife Refuge. Events like the Lilac Festival, Tulip Festival and Pioneer Days draw thousands of people annually. The same exit as the Wineries at Woodland takes outdoor lovers to the Lewis River Golf Course and the Gifford Pinchot National Forest with access to Lakes Merwin, Swift and Yale as well as the Cedar Creek Grist Mill and Lelooska Cultural Center for history buffs.

“Woodland, I think, is amazing. It’s going to explode. It’s along I-5. It’s along the river. It has a downtown overlooking the lake. You just don’t see that,” Copenhaver said.

Viki Eierdam is a freelance writer. She lives in Battle Ground, Washington. Connect with her at savorsipandsojourn.com.

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