Swiftwater Cellars Grand Opening Friday

It gives me great pleasure to announce the grand opening of Swiftwater Cellars this Friday! This is truly Washington's ultimate destination winery -- delicious wines by Tony Rynders and Linda Trotta; fine cuisine and hospitality by Chef Matt Bates, F&B Norm Dillard and Club and Event Manager, Jami Parks; and a solid accounting and business foundation by Controller, Bjorn Gjerde. It's a beautiful location about an hour from Seattle in the Cascades. And there is something for everyone given the Suncadia resort -- golf, trails, spa, fishing and much more. All created within the vision of founders, Don and Lori Watts and their son and GM, Donnie and his wife, Meghan.

I have had the pleasure of working with the ever-growing team for the last 17 months and to get to this point is both professionally and personally thrilling. They broke ground in only August of last year so the fact that such a beautiful facility was finished in such a short period of time is nothing short of amazing.

Here's a detailed look at the work we've done together over the last year and a half:

*created and revised a messaging platform
*written and revised a business plan
* developed labels, packaging and a wide range of marketing materials with Joe Farmer of WhizBang Studio
* sourced software for the winery and restaurant
* written job postings
* sent 6 press releases and 7 newsletters
* pitched 300 writers and counting
* promoted 35 resulting articles, a video and radio interview so far... still counting!
* created a website and planned a new one with Brett Lytle of Lytle Works
* sourced bottle photography from Image works
* developed 3 social media platforms
* created two rock star wine clubs which already have over 150 members
* grown our contacts from 100 to over 1000
* hosted ground breaking and participated in Taste WA and Wine in the Pines
* worked with the Suncadia marketing, PR and event teams
* written and revised a speech
* sourced dummy bottles, branded items, glassware and "This is how we roll" shirts
* had 8 meetings and spent likely 5 full 24 days on the phone
* sent thousands of emails and logged 5000+ driving miles
* enjoyed many delicious meals at Portals in Suncadia, Seattle and the Watts family homes in Cle Elum and Kennewick (can't wait to finally have one at the Hoist House!)
* seen a Tri-City Americans ice hockey game and attended a baby shower
* visited several Prosser area wineries
* shared dinner two IPNC Salmon Bakes
* met many family members, friends and business associates
* congratulated Don on his Puget Sound Hall of Fame award
* and last but certainly not least... welcomed two new babies
Whew! This is just what I've worked on... multiply that by a factor of 100 for the full team's efforts.

In February of 2009, I'd never heard of Cle Elum, Suncadia, or the Watts family. Thanks to an introduction by Tony Rynders, whom I'd met at a conference in June 2008, I became part of an incredible team and business vision. For all this I am truly thankful.