The new owners of Columbia Winery sign a long-term lease to stay in its iconic building in Woodinville.
Columbia Winery’s new owner signed a long-term lease that will keep the winery in Woodinville, the winery said Friday.
Once a popular site for weddings and other events, Columbia stopped hosting them earlier this year when it moved its winemaking and bottling operations to Sunnyside in Eastern Washington. It planned to leave the iconic Woodinville building that appears on many of its wine labels.
This summer, Columbia and sibling winery Covey Run were sold by Constellation Brands to a new privately owned company in California called Ascentia Wine Estates, which wants to get back into the events business. It signed a lease with building owners Stan and Brandon Baty this week.
Their father, Dan, was the majority owner of Columbia, Covey Run and other wine brands that Constellation bought in 2001.
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Woodinville Mayor Scott Hageman was delighted with the change of plans. “We welcome Columbia Winery’s new owner, Ascentia Wine Estates, with open arms,” he said.
Jim DeBonis, Ascentia’s CEO, said “the decision to keep Columbia Winery in Woodinville was very important to us. It was paramount to Ascentia’s growth plan for our Columbia Winery brand and for the protection of employees in the Pacific Northwest. It is also essential to our local consumers, tourists and distributors.”
Most of the winemaking in Sunnyside will stay there, where Columbia has long produced most of its wine, said Glenn Coogan, who had worked for Constellation and is now vice president of Northwest operations for Ascentia.
But Columbia will bring back some small-lot production for its 2,200-member wine club and its retail operation.
“It’ll put the soul back in the winery and keeps our Northwest management team and the retail team here in Woodinville,” he said.
The winery will not rehire most of the 20 workers who lost their jobs when operations moved to Sunnyside, he said.
Coogan said he’s excited about offering events again. “We got out of that business, and we did not want to be out of that business.”
Melissa Allison: 206-464-3312 or firstname.lastname@example.org