Wineries Look to Bounce Back this Thanksgiving - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Wineries Look to Bounce Back this Thanksgiving

YAKIMA, Wa -  A local winery says Thanksgiving in Wine Country is the big money maker for wineries in the Yakima Valley.   They were hit hard last year, but expect to have a great turnout this weekend.

This year wineries in the Yakima Valley have a glass half full mentality for Thanksgiving in Wine Country.

"It looks fine. It looks clear," says Katherine Vigil of Kana Winery.  

But, last year the passes were a mess.  The DOT had to restrict traffic on I-90 to repair a rock wall and then a snowstorm hit.  Vigil says the DOT discouraged travel over the passes for Thanksgiving, which scared away tasters from the Westside.

"People really payed attention to them and they didn't think about the impact that would have," she says. 

Wineries took a pretty big hit, but also learned a valuable lesson.  Now they're marketing more heavily on the eastside. "

"We're targeting Yakima, Tri-Cities and Spokane.  Places where you don't need the pass to get here."

With the passes in good condition now, expectations for the valley's signature wine event are high.  Vigil estimates Thanksgiving in Wine Country could amount to 20-percent of Kana Winery's annual revenue for this year.

"All wineries prepare for this weekend," says Vigil, "We all try to get our wines out.  Any new releases... We like to have them out a good month beforehand."  

Thanksgiving in Wine Country starts on Friday.  Most wineries will be open from 10am to 5pm through the weekend. 

Wine Yakima Valley estimates that more than 3,000 people will be coming to the area.