Governor Gregoire visits for groundbreaking at new wine center - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Governor Gregoire visits for groundbreaking at new wine center

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NEAR BURBANK, Wash.-- Governor Christine Gregoire made a visit Monday to the Railex facility near Burbank for the groundbreaking of a building that will expand the reach of Washington state's wine industry.

Governor Gregoire came to promote the new Railex Wine Services Distribution Center.

Once it's built, it will offer refrigerated storage for Washington wine to be transported to the east coast and will be the first rail-based system to transport wine across the country.

Washington wine is big business for the state as the second biggest export. But our wine that's making it to other countries isn't making it to the other side of our own, on the east coast.

Governor Gregoire is making is pressing further expansion of our wine exports.

"Our exports are up dramatically in sending our wine around the globe by about forty percent but we really need to focus on the U.S. We need to get the U.S. To understand we have the greatest wine in the world," says Gregoire.

The wine services distribution center will make this a reality and make it possible for the industry to ship ten times more wine.

"The partnership between Railex and Ste. Michelle and the port here will allow us to send it everywhere around the country . So when we wet their appetite, I bet we're going to see a dramatic increase in Washington wines being sold everywhere across the U.S.," says Gregoire.

Ste. Michelle is a major wine company, but this facility will help out others among the seven hundred wineries in Washington, says Jim Kleist of Railex.

"Five hundred square feet of wine distribution center. That's five million cases. Now you start talking a lot of little wineries that can participate with this and we can get their wines no only on the train but can we help truck it to other spots across the country," says Kleist

The facility will pay three hundred twenty thousand dollars in property taxes and boost the local economy in numerous ways.

"Adding a solid twenty-five to thirty-five jobs, plus just the tax base, trucking, more spending in the community," says Kleist.