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Published by the Port of Walla Walla

A sign sets the stage for new WW County
produce train

   What may be the most exciting shipping concept ever for Washington State’s fresh produce ended up in Walla Walla County because of a sign - and a lot of co-operation among local, state and federal agencies.
   Paul Schneidmiller, Port Commission President, explains that officials of a company called Railex, a subsidiary of an East Coast produce distributor, were exploring sites for a shipping center when they saw the Port’s sign near Burbank. “Because of that sign, they called us and the rest is history,” Schneidmiller said.
   From that point on, the Port had its work cut out for it. Railex needed help with infrastructure improvements at the Port’s Dodd Road Industrial Park. Included were an access road, a public water system, a railroad loop for the special 55-car train that would make the cross-country trip in five days.
   Schneidmiller says a host of people worked together to make it happen.
   Support came from Washington Governor Christine Gregoire, U.S. Senator Patty Murray, Congresswoman Cathy McMorris and Washington State legislators, Senator Mike Hewitt and Representatives Bill Grant and Maureen Walsh. (More on Page 4)

Port “incubators” designed to grow
start-ups, create private sector jobs

   The Port of Walla Walla’s unique
winery incubator program was created to provide reasonably priced space for startup wineries.    According to Port Commissioner Mike Fredrickson, “The incubator buildings are shell buildings with a HVAC system and outside crush pads. Tenants are required to supply all wine processing equipment and machinery, including tanks, pumps and barrels.”
   Lease agreements are limited to six years; early graduation from the incubators will be encouraged.    Fredrickson said, “The success of the incubator program will be measured by the number of startup wineries that graduate and establish new jobs and wineries in the private sector.”
   Two of the three incubator buildings have been leased by Trio Vintners and Adamant Cellars.
   Trio Vintners is owned and operated by Denise Slattery, her husband, Steve

   Michener, and a partner, Tim Boushey. All recently graduated from the Walla Walla Community College enology and viticulture program.    Slattery said access to the ready-made space is crucial for the winery to “hit the ground running.”    Adamant Cellars is owned and operated by Devin and Debra Stinger, a husband-wife team that began making wine in their basement in Portland, Oregon, a half-dozen years ago.    Stinger says the first Adamant Cellars white wine will be release next spring.    Funding for the $1.1 million project came from a $985,000 Washington State grant and a Port contribution of $153,000.    Port officials said Representative Bill Grant played a leadership role in obtaining state funding. Senator Mike Hewitt and Representative Maureen Walsh were also instrumental in helping to secure state funding.

These three “incubators” offer affordable sites for start-up wineries. Photo by Donna Lasater

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