The Port of Kennewick soon may develop a wine business incubator in the Tri-Cities.
A recent study commissioned by the port says the new facility will help diversify the regional economy.
The growth of the wine industry in the Mid-Columbia supports the idea of building a facility that will support winemaking and wine-related businesses, says the $37,500 study by HDR, an architectural, engineering and consulting firm.
The Port could consider any of the four potential sites the study lists -- Red Mountain Wine Estates, Tri-City Raceway, Vista Field and Columbia Drive-- to locate the incubator, said Tammy Fine, director of finance/auditor at the Port of Kennewick.
Much of the study's cost was paid for by a Community Economic Revitalization Board grant.
The incubator would help create about 40 new direct jobs and 75 indirect jobs in the first five years. But over the next 20 years, the facility could add a total of 1,000 new jobs and have an economic output of $137 million, Fine said.
Existing winery incubator facilities run by the Port of Benton and the Port of Walla Walla have waiting lists, Fine said. Also, a private incubator in Prosser is operating at capacity, she said. So, it makes perfect sense to create space to help wine industry startups.
The winemaking industry also can help an array of related businesses take root in the area. That would include cork and bottle manufacturing, lab services, label packaging, design and printing, marketing, catering and storage services, Fine said.
The Port will have an 8,000-square-foot incubator in an area equipped with necessary infrastructure and other facilities.
The building project, which could cost $1.13 million, may be included in the 2009 budget if port commissioners agree, Fine said.