Big Restaurant Names Could Mean Big Business For WA Wines

Big Restaurant Names Could Mean Big Business For WA Wines
WA STATE -- It's a who's who of the culinary world in Washington wine country.

Forty wine buyers from all over the United States are in Washington this week.

From high end restaurants to hotels, the group represents more than 400 million dollars in purchasing power.

The first stop is Walla Walla.

From there they'll head to the Tri-Cities Tuesday, then Yakima Valley, and end in Woodinville.

It's a hands on experience for wine buyers.

It's not just tasting the wine; they're picking grapes and sampling soil.

It's an up close look at Washington's harvest.

“There's really nothing like touching the vineyards and for me coming to visit these areas and spending time with the wine makers it just gets you more excited and if I’m more excited about the wines I’m going to want to add more. I might be like a kid in the candy story when I get back to Las Vegas,” Jason Smith with the Bellagio said.

The Washington wine industry is hoping to expand especially to some high end venues.

“Some may carry one or two Washington brands in their restaurants or their retail stores, but for the most part they're really looking to add more Washington wines to their inventory,” Madeline Dow with the Washington Wine Commission said.

Restaurants owned by big names like Wolfgang Puck, and places like the Bellagio.

The Bellagio Hotel carries some Washington Wines, but they're looking for more.

“The people we do show Washington wines to for the first time they really have an attachment to them, and I can't only see Washington wines increasing in popularity over the next couple of years,” Jason Smith said.

It's not just west coasters taking notice, big name restaurants from the east coast are here.

These are folks that have money to spend for their restaurants.

The goal is to get them to spend it in Washington.

“I think there is a demand for Washington wine out there and having these buyers come out is a huge impact for our industry because they’re going to go home and tell the stories they've learned during this trip,” Madeline Dow said.

Those stories are working.

This is the second Washington road trip and the Washington Wine Commission says they've seen an increase in overall distribution and exposure of Washington wine.