What happens after wine grapes are harvested
Ste. Michelle Wine Estates is expanding the tank farm at its massive Columbia Crest Winery in Paterson by up to 8 million gallons — enough to fill Pasco’s two water towers on Road 68.
Benton County authorized the $600,000 storage project in March after first determining it would not significantly harm the environment.
Ste. Michelle characterized it a minor expansion at Columbia Crest, one of Washington’s largest wineries.
“The new tanks are part of our ongoing efforts to maximize efficiencies and storage space at the winery,” said Ryan Pennington, spokesman for the parent company.
Columbia Crest already has more than 60 tanks of varying sizes at Paterson, where it is an anchor for the Horse Heaven Hills American Viticultural Area spread along the Columbia River.
Ste. Michelle does not disclose its total tank storage capacity.
And Pennington said it currently is not building the full 8 million capacity allowed under the permit.
Still, 8 million gallons is a breathtaking quantity of vino.
A gallon fills five standard wine bottles, so 8 million gallons could fill about 40 million bottles.
According to project documents, the new tanks and pads will be built to the west of the current tank farm.
The project will displace about six acres of vineyard and includes moving 90,000 cubic yards of soil to create a new platform for the tanks to sit on.
MH Construction is building the project.