SEATTLE – A handful of wineries that participated in last weekend’s Taste Washington event at the CenturyLink Field Event Center reported having items stolen from their tables late Saturday night or early Sunday morning.
Two wineries – Alexandria Nicole Cellars and Airfield Estates – noticed bottles of wine missing when they returned Sunday morning to Taste Washington for the second day of the food-and-wine event. Alexandria Nicole Cellars reported about a half-case vanished from underneath its table, while Airfield said at least two bottles went missing.
“This is the first time anything like this has ever happened,” said Lori Stevens, marketing director for Airfield Estates.
The two wineries were next to each other at Taste Washington near the south end of the event center.
Brian Carter Cellars in Woodinville told Great Northwest Wine this morning that 22 bottles of wine were stolen overnight.
Chris Stone, vice president of marketing and communications for the Washington State Wine Commission, said he heard of at least two situations in which items were stolen, including a couple of etched display bottles from one winery.
“It’s really surprising and extremely disappointing,” Stone said.
Suzy Cox of Cox Canyon Vineyards in Ellensburg noticed a large galvanized tub was missing when she returned to the venue Sunday morning.
“We used it for chilling white wines,” she said.
Cox said the tub was not expensive. However, it held deep sentimental value because it was a gift from friends when the Cox family planted its vineyard, and it was hand-painted with the vineyard name and logo – thus, it is irreplaceable.
Cox talked with another winery owner, who told her that other winery representatives also noticed items missing during Taste Washington.
Kendall Mix, winemaker for Goose Ridge Vineyards, said a couple of large-format etched bottles being used for the winery’s display were missing Sunday morning. He said he wasn’t sure if they were pilfered or if someone on the cleaning crew mistook them for empties and inadvertently threw them away.
“We don’t really know,” he said.
He added that he believes at least a couple of bottles of red wine left from Saturday’s event also were missing from underneath Goose Ridge’s table.
Taste Washington coordinators investigating thefts
Melinda Haynes, marketing and events manager for Varsity Communications – which manages the event for the Washington State Wine Commission – said she was aware some items had gone missing.
“We are working with the CenturyLink Field Event Center to review security camera footage to discover what happened,” she said.
Haynes said that wineries brought wines for each day of pouring. The Sunday wine was stored in a secure area and taken to each winery’s table late Saturday after the event was closed. Any wine not poured Saturday was stored out of sight under the winery’s table.
The wines reported stolen were unopened from Saturday’s portion of the event. There were no reports of wines set out for Sunday being taken.
Stone said the venue has 24-hour security, and he believes that once the security camera footage is reviewed, the wine commission will be able to determine what happened.
Several other wineries that were queried by Great Northwest Wine reported no problems or irregularities. Rather, they said the event was well attended, and those who attended appeared to be having a great time.
A food vendor next to us had an I- phone stolen Saturday afternoon. I think more theft will surface this week.