Over the last five years, Woodinville, Wash., a suburb of Seattle, has become home to more than 30 wineries, including Chateau Ste. Michelle and Columbia, two of the state's biggest producers. And it's about to get four more wineries in the form of the new $250 million, Tuscan-style Woodinville Village. Developers broke ground on the village in June, and its various offerings will open in phases starting in late 2008.
MJR Development, in Kirkland, Wash., is building the village on 24 acres of land in the Sammamish River Valley, just 12 miles from downtown Seattle. MJR executive Mike McClure and his other investment partners began mapping out the village four years ago. They've since hired seven architectural firms, with various specialties, to execute their vision.
"Woodinville Village [will] attempt to capture the energy and vitality of classic European village squares, paired with the laid-back ambiance of Napa Valley wine culture, and set [in] one of the most beautiful places in the Pacific Northwest," said McClure.
The four area producers involved—DeLille Cellars, Di Stefano, Brian Carter Cellars and Washington Wine Company—will each own their production spaces, just steps apart from one another, in the north end of the village. The wineries will cost roughly $4 million each to build (including equipment), and will produce wine from grapes trucked in from eastern Washington. If all goes according to plan, the wineries will be up and running by the end of 2008.
Each winery will have an original look that allows it to "express [its] own DNA," said Joe Chauncey, lead architect at Seattle-based firm Boxwood, which is building three of the wineries. (DeLille is being constructed by North Pacific Design, in Seattle.) Brian Carter Cellars' new winery will be made of glass, stone and wood, and will have a wooden trellis that stretches across the façade. Washington Wine Company's new space will have a three-story tower, adjacent to a two-story glass tasting room. The new Di Stefano winery will be an angular structure made of concrete and corrugated steel, with glass walls that will allow tourists to watch the winemaking process. And DeLille will have several tasting rooms in a four-story, ivy-covered tower inspired by the turn-of-the-century stone towers at Napa's Tra Vigne restaurant.
Woodinville Village will also offer a European-inspired spa, a gourmet grocery store, office space, several restaurants, retail shops and condominiums ranging in price from $350,000 to $1.5 million. There will also be a $45 million, 100-room hotel, called Hotel Varenna, opening in 2009, about a block from the wineries. The hotel is named after the picturesque town on northern Italy's Lake Como. In addition to a small restaurant specializing in northern Italian fare, the hotel will offer a 50-seat culinary amphitheater for cooking demonstrations.
"We are building a place that [will] bring people together," said McClure. "Our success a few decades from now will be how many friendships, marriages, business deals and great ideas are spawned … at Woodinville Village."
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