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Thursday, Mar. 05, 2009

Board seeks input on Walter Clore wine center

RICHLAND — Board members of the Walter Clore Wine and Culinary Center are on a mission to make sure the new Prosser facility is built just the way wine and related industries want and need it.

"The piece of the puzzle that's missing is your comments," board member Mike Hogue said at a meeting Wednesday.

About a dozen people gathered at Bookwalter Winery in Richland to hear an update on the center. The meeting followed one in Prosser earlier in the day and others will be held throughout the state in the coming weeks, said Kathy Corliss, the center's director of administration.

Comments from the meetings and surveys the board is distributing will help leaders put together the center's business plan, which is expected to be finished by the end of June, said consultant Robin Struyvenberg.

"This to me is to tell the story," Hogue said of the center. "We're going to help tell the story and get people out mingling with winery owners."

One woman suggested partnering with another stakeholder, such as a culinary school. She was also curious about the business plan.

"We just want to make sure it works," she said.

Another man in attendance asked about the possibility of an amphitheater.

"We are considering that," Hogue replied.

The center, whose mission now encompasses education about and promotion of wine and food of the Pacific Northwest, is centrally located and will be a draw for visitors from the Interstate 5 corridor and Spokane, Struyvenberg said.

She described some of the planned features, such as a variety of exhibits, a tasting room, a multipurpose room with a demonstration kitchen and the capability for webcasting and more.

Infrastructure work on the land is expected to begin in April, she said, with construction starting in the fall.

For more information about the center, visit www.walterclore.com.