State and community leaders break ground on Wine Science Center



Washington Governor Jay Inslee comes to the Tri-Cities today to help break ground on the new Wine Science Center at Washington State University Tri-Cities.

State and community leaders say the new facility will help take the entire wine industry in Washington to new heights.

The 40,000 square foot space will be built next to the Richland campus, along George Washington Way.

Educators say the Wine Science Center will be a state-of-the-art research facility.

They say the building will have research labs for projects in the Tri-Cities, and for collaborative research projects with wine experts from across the Northwest.

State leaders say this facility will help make the wine industry in Washington untouchable.

"Today, we're celebrating a great marriage of two things we believe in, wine and we believe in science, and in marrying those things here today, we are gonna grow the Washington wine economy like nowhere else on the planet Earth in the next two decades, and you can count on that. That's gonna happen" said Governor Inslee.

There are nearly 800 wineries across Washington state.

In 2011, the wine industry helped bring in $8.6 billion dollars to the state's economy - that's almost triple the amount that was brought in four years before that, in 2007.

State leaders are hoping this new facility will help triple the wine industry's impact on Washington's economy again.

Construction of the new building is going to cost $23 million.

Educators have raised $19 million so far - they hope to open the facility in 2015.