September 28, 2018 06:27 PM
KENNEWICK, WA 

Two wineries and two food trucks are staking their futures on Columbia Gardens, the Port of Kennewick’s wine-theme destination development near the cable bridge.

The port has selected four tenants for the next phase of the development on Columbia Drive — Gordon Estate Winery, Cave B Estate Winery, Swampy’s BBQ and Frost Me Sweet.

The wineries will open tasting rooms next summer. The food trucks could roll in as early as November.

Columbia Gardens Urban Wine & Artisan Village is a development meant to revitalize the Columbia River waterfront in downtown Kennewick.

The first phase opened earlier this year at 421 E. Columbia Drive and is occupied by Palencia Wine Co./Monarcha Winery and Bartholomew Winery.

The second phase will include two 1,225-square-foot tasting rooms and a food truck plaza. The port is devoting the insurance proceeds from a building that collapsed in 2017 to the project.

Site work began this summer. The port will soon seek bids to build the structure, which should be ready for tenants by next summer.

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The tasting room spaces will rent for about $1,400 per month, including leasehold taxes. The food truck spots rent for $200 to $225 per month, which includes utilities. The leases have not yet been finalized.

Gordon Estate Winery will make Columbia Gardens the face of its local wine business, said Katie Gordon Nelson, general manager of the winery her parents launched in 1983.

Its Pasco winery will still hold club and special events, but Columbia Gardens will be the primary location for Tri-City residents and visitors to taste its wines.

Nelson said she’s eager to collaborate with the food trucks that will operate on the neighboring plaza, including pairing Gordon vintages with food truck offerings.

Gordon Estates is chiefly known for its cabernet sauvignon, chardonnay, syrah and merlot. Its wines are 100 percent produced with grapes grown on the Gordon estates.

But Nelson interested in playing with some of its smaller offerings. She said she’d love to pair a Spanish style tempranillo with paella if she can find a food truck to go along with her idea.

Like Gordon, Swampy’s BBQ is betting a fixed address at Columbia Gardens will raise its profile.

Owner Ron Swanby launched Swampy’s as a barbecue sauce and catering business in 2014 and added a food truck last year, operating from a rotating set of locations.

“This is a true blessing,” he said.

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Columbia Gardens will be its primary location, and Swanby plans to serve up breakfast, lunch and dinner for much of the week.

He’s building a second barbecue to support the move, with plans to put it next to the truck in Kennewick.

“There will be days we do brisket or beef ribs, but I am not going to be bound by selling that stuff on a daily basis,” Swanby said. “We’re trying to keep it fresh at all times.”

Swampy’s — a play on Swanby’s name — specializes in playful twists on traditional barbecue fare. This week, the truck was selling “fatties” sandwiches, a colossal meat combo served hamburger-style on a bun.

Swampy’s plans to begin operating at Columbia Gardens in early November. It will be food truck buddies with mobile arm of Frost Me Sweet, a Richland cupcake bakery and bistro.

The bakery’s food truck is a fixture at Pasco Farmer’s Market and special events. Owners Megan and Jason Savely are currently doubling the restaurant at The Parkway in Richland.

Quincy’s Cave B Estate Winery was established in 1982 at Quincy.

The founders transformed a bowl-shaped gorge on the Columbia River into what is now known as the Gorge Amphitheater. Cave B launched in 2001 and has tasting rooms at Quincy and Woodinville.