Inslee: Washington 'becoming number one wine producing area in the world'

RICHLAND, Wash. -- An exciting day in Richland as hundreds of people gathered for the ground breaking of WSU's new Wine Science Center.

But this building isn't just a new piece of the campus. We spoke with Governor Jay Inslee about why this is a huge milestone for our community and the multi-billion dollar wine industry.

"We are going to grow the Washington state wine economy like no where else on the planet earth in the next two decades and you can count on it. That's gonna happen."

Governor Jay Inslee addressed a crowd of hundreds at the groundbreaking of WSU's new Wince Science Center Thursday.

He says this is a milestone for not just the university, but for the entire region.

"This has been a dream for over a decade and I remember when I represented this area in Congress, people trying to grow this idea, and to see it come into fruition is really exciting to me," the Governor added.

Construction alone will create 75 jobs over the next couple years.
Once the center opens, more than 30 new faculty and staff positions will be added.

It's a step that WSU Regent Ted Baseler has been awaiting for almost five years.

"This is a job creator project," he says.

The 40,000 square foot facility will cost 23-million to build.
Once finished, it will include state-of-the-art wine producing equipment. By being able to experiment and research so close to the grapes, Ted says they'll be able to create new kinds of wine.

"We can do different treatments and yeast varieties and different experiments here in the cellar, which is very unique," he continued.

Washington's wine industry contributes almost nine billion dollars to the state economy every year. With research done at this new facility--the governor is confident we can triple that by 2020.

"There are so many good things going on in this region, but becoming the number one wine producing area in the world--you can't top that," Inslee says.

And with a simple toss of dirt, Washington's wine industry breaks ground on cementing itself among the world's top industries.

Right now, five thousand people are employed by the local wine industry. That's expected to triple in the next 20-years.

The new wine science center will open in 2015.