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Swiftwater Cellars -- A 'Destination Within a Destination'

3 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Swiftwater Cellars
Cle Elum, Washington

With a retired coal mine as its foundation and source of inspiration, Swiftwater Cellars provides wine lovers a “destination within a destination.” Entrepreneur farmers Don and Lori Watts founded the winery in 2007 on the very site of the historic Roslyn No. 9 Coal Mine, which operated from 1930 to 1963, and now lies in the heart of Central Washington’s Suncadia Resort.

The winery is built in the style of a coal mining tipple house right next to the mineshaft, and is appointed with authentic mining artifacts as a reminder of bygone days. The views are spectacular in every direction and the tasting room demonstrates this, with towering 20-foot windows, which also give golfers a good look at what is in store for them out on the resort’s Roper Rider Golf Course. Besides the massive lounge-like tasting room, the building includes a restaurant, the Hoist House, serving locally sourced fare, and a chic boutique featuring furniture and accessories.

“This is the culmination of our family’s 30-year dedication to top quality agriculture, and desire to offer visitors a rich winery experience,” Don says.

But the heart of the experience is discovered in Swiftwater’s expertly crafted wines. Don and Lori rely on the expertise of Consulting Winemaker Tony Rynders (Hogue Cellars, Domaine Serene), and Winemaker Linda Trotta, who came to Swiftwater after 20 years at Gundlach Bundschu Winery in Sonoma. Her winemaking efforts have been repeatedly recognized, and not long ago, wine critic Dan Berger named Linda one of California’s 10 Best Winemakers. But Linda was glad to leave California behind when the chance to move to Swiftwater Cellars presented itself.

“The opportunity was too amazing for me to miss,” Linda says. The opportunity is to create wines that express the essence of the Pacific Northwest with a dual focus on Bordeaux varietals and Pinot Noir, in a setting that’s not just a winery, but a true wine destination.

’09 No. 9 Semillon
Lively citrus, melon, tarragon, fig $18
’07 No. 9 Red
Bordeaux blend of violet, cordial, plum, cherry $28
’08 Pinot Noir
Raspberry, cherry, tobacco, spice $55


Tasting Room Open Tue–Thur 12–6;
Fri–Sat 11–8; Sun 11–6
301 Rope Rider Dr
Cle Elum, WA 98922

Restaurant, scenic view, corporate events, weddings and receptions, wine club events, winemaker on site

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