BURBANK, Wash.-- As Washington's wine industry continues to grow, a new state of the art facility here in eastern Washington will help store and transport that wine by train.
Train tracks are carrying local wine across the U.S. It's expanding the reach for the Washington wine market and bringing in huge profits.
That's why Railex built a storage facility in Burbank to serve as a hub for Washington wine transportation.
"This is a large storage distribution facility so not only are we going to hold a lot of wine , we're going to flow a lot of wine in and out of the building," said Jim Kleist, Railex Vice President.
Large might be an understatement. Friday, Railex opened it's 500,000 square foot storage facility in Burbank.
The company plans to store five million cases of wine in this building that's big enough to fit 11 football fields.
Workers are moving the first flats of wine into the refrigerated facility that keeps the wine the same temperature from production through delivery.
"We transport it at that temperature. We bring it in. We unload it directly into the building at that temp, store it at that temperature. What that does is it just maintains the quality of the wine," Kleist said.
Temperature controlled trucks attach to the building keeping the wine cool.
When it's time to send it off, trains make it possible to quickly transport it from coast to coast.
"We're going to be able to load directly on the train which is going to fit on our unit train and deliver to the Northeast and the Southeast. You're talking the east coast, north to south, Florida to Maine," Kleist said.
Ste Michelle Wine Estates is one of the biggest producers of wine in the state and will be the facility's biggest user.
"We are a wine making business. We're kind of getting out of the warehousing and distribution piece and want to focus on what we do well, a company that makes premium wine," said Robert Warwick, Director of Distributions at Ste Michelle Wine Estates.
Industry experts believe this advanced Railex facility will bring more growth, a wider reach and increased profits for Washington's wine industry that already produces nearly ten million cases of wine a year.