Friday, November 11, 2011
Hundreds savor opening of Wine Cellars of Washington
SNOHOMISH — More than 400 people came in for a sample of the new Wine Cellars of Washington on Nov. 10, getting a preview of the wine-tasting room that opened Nov. 12 with 23 Washington wineries under one roof.
Wine Cellars of Washington and its companion business, Washington Public Market, is the brainchild of Scott Swoboda, a Snohomish native and entrepreneur who has bought, restored and sold numerous buildings in the city for more than 30 years. The public market and wine cellar fill 45,000 square feet inside two buildings Swoboda has long owned at 1010 and 1011 Second St. A cafe adjoins the wine-tasting room.
Wine Cellars of Washington and Washington Public Market will be open weekends throughout the year. The market was scheduled to have 145 vendors selling arts and crafts, clothing, jewelry, baked goods, collectibles, fresh produce and flowers. The public market will be open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.
For participating wineries, Swoboda will charge each one $250 per weekend. He covers the cost of the wait staff, stemware, refrigeration, storage, seating and overhead. Wine tasters will pay a $5 cover charge. The tasting room and cafe will be open 11:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
“This will be a boon for Snohomish,” said Swoboda's mother, Irene O'Hare, 86, as she greeted guests in the lobby on Nov. 10. “It'll be the destination for the town.”
Judging by the size of the pre-opening-night crowd, she may be right.
Jeff and Renee Fjeld, owners of Daedalus Denture Concepts in downtown Snohomish, were enjoying the festivities as they sipped samples and chatted with Rio Rayne from Useless Bay Wines in Clinton and Mike Grace, owner of Grace Cellars in Lynnwood.
“It's pretty cool,” Jeff Fjeld said. “It gives us a great opportunity to get out” and try something new.
“I love the concept of having local produce,” Renee Fjeld said, “and I love that it's all Washington wines.”
Cafe manager and chef Joan Autry got to display the quality of the food the cafe will offer, with a table stacked with hors d'oeuvres and cupcakes.
“I'm very excited about this,” said Barb Torgerson, vendor manager for Washington Public Market and Wine Cellars of Washington. “This will bring so much growth to the area.”
Mayor Karen Guzak helped Swoboda cut a ribbon to mark the official opening of the business.
“He's been working so hard on this for so long,” Guzak said. “This is a great thing for all of us.”
Swoboda said the crowd for the Nov. 12 official opening reached his "highest expectations."
"We quit counting visitors when we got to 4,800 people about two-thirds of the way through the day," he said. "We were just too busy to continue."
A little more than 1,000 people each paid the $5 cover charge to get into the wine-tasting area, Swoboda said. Two wineries couldn't attend because their liquor licenses were still being processed, but he expects to have a full complement of 25 wineries pouring samples Nov. 19 and 20.
Seventeen vendors didn't show for the Washington Public Market, but virtually all those who did attend told Swoboda they want to return. He expects to have 35 additional vendors selling their wares on Nov. 19 and 20.
"I'm pretty happy about it," Swoboda said.
Mingling in the crowd Nov. 10, O'Hare admired what her son accomplished with his latest venture.
“I think it's absolutely fabulous,” she said. “Scott's a real go-getter.”
Kurt Batdorf: 425-339-3102, email@example.com.