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Posted on Feb 23, 2019

Wine tasting room concept presented to port commissioners

LeeAnnette Fortier and Julie Putnam presented a concept they called the Quincy Tasting Room to commissioners of the Port of Quincy on Feb. 13, and they sounded interested.
Fortier talked about creating a wine tasting room like Wenatchee’s, done in conjunction with the chamber of commerce. A tasting room brings wineries to one place, and Fortier said the idea was not to compete with wineries’ own tasting rooms around Quincy Valley, but to encourage more travelers to stop in Quincy and see what the area has to offer. The tasting room would sell “pours” of local wines, and bottles would be available for purchase.
Fortier and Putnam said two general locations had been talked about: one, in the conference center buildings, from the current Quincy Valley Chamber of Commerce offices or a newly configured space elsewhere in the same building, or in the adjoining former Heartland building; and, two, at the new Community Heritage Barn.
They discussed the pros and cons of both, and said that not much space would be needed.
Discussing financial questions and organizational issues, Fortier said the wine tasting room would be under the operational umbrella of the Quincy Valley Chamber of Commerce. Putnam is the president of the chamber this year.
What they were asking port commissioners for is funding and space. Fortier talked about a wine tasting machine costing about $8,000 that automatically dispenses wine. Wenatchee has two such machines, Fortier said. She also mentioned possibly buying glasses and a point-of-sale system – ways the port might support the tasting room startup.
Commissioner Curt Morris, participating by phone, asked whether it would be staffed by volunteers. Fortier said yes, and she had spoken with several interested people.
Commissioner Brian Kuest and Morris agreed that it was a good idea for tourism. Commissioner Pat Connelly said a location inside the former Heartland building would be problematic, as much of the space is committed to other uses.
Concluding, Putnam and Fortier said they did not expect any decision at that time, only a sense of support or interest from the port before proceeding on to speak with winery owners and developing the plan further.
Other matters coming up during the port meeting included:
• Dave Adams presented an idea for a self-serve ice machine, requesting to place one in front of the conference center. After discussion, commissioners said they would look at the machine and locations.
• Dayana Ruiz, representing Quincy Partnership for Youth, asked the commissioners to provide space in the conference center, as it did in 2018, to hold two meetings during 2019. The commissioners said that times could be worked out with Sarah Hawes if the two meetings did not create scheduling conflicts.
• Larry Schaapman, a Grant PUD commissioner, and the port leaders discussed electricity rates and concerns of industrial customers over potential swings in Grant PUD policy or changes in rates.
• Hawes talked with commissioners about tables and chairs in the conference center. She presented costs for options to purchase more furniture.

By Dave Burgess,