Yakima convention center now features more local wines

Organizations staging events at the Yakima Convention Center -- and the people who attend them -- are getting more local wines from which to choose.

The convention center’s new caterer -- Stamford, Conn.-based Centerplate -- set up shop about six weeks ago with only one Yakima County winery, Treveri Cellars, represented on its menu. The rest of the wineries ranged from Benton County to Woodinville to Australia.

Since then, Centerplate General Manager Judy Moline said, the company has added more. As of Thursday, the catering menu included two wineries based in Yakima, one on Naches Heights and five from the Zillah area.

Centerplate always intended to add more local wineries, but it took time to get contracts, Moline said. She said she hasn’t had much time to get the Yakima operation up and running since the city, which owns the convention center, tapped Centerplate for the contract in early spring.

Prior to that, catering service had been provided by M&M Catering, a company owned by Red Lion Hotels Corp. Sue Ownby, the city of Yakima’s purchasing manager, said Red Lion wanted to reduce the 15 percent commissions it paid to the city or end the contract.

The city held a public bid process for the contract, which drew three submissions. Centerplate beat out Ovations, a Florida-based company, and Red Lion, whose bid was not competitive because of issues over the commissions, Ownby said.

After the contract was finalized in April, Moline only had a few weeks to get set up. By comparison, she said Centerplate had about six months to set up when it took over concessions in the New Orleans Superdome.

Moline said the catering company is still waiting to receive some supplies on back-order. Early last week, for example, she had to buy more salt and pepper shakers to have enough for two simultaneous events Centerplate was catering.

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