Fire destroys distillery at Westport Winery Garden Resort in Washington

By on May 16, 2021
A fire destroyed the Ocean’s Daughter Distillery on Saturday, May 15, 2021 at Westport Winery Garden Resort near Aberdeen, Wash. (Photo courtesy of Westport Winery Garden Resort)

ABERDEEN, Wash. — A year ago, the Roberts family of Westport Winery Garden Resort earned headlines during the pandemic for using their Ocean’s Daughter Distillery to produce hand sanitizer for law enforcement and first responders.

This morning, Blain, his wife, Kim, and their daughter, Carrie, are picking up the pieces after a fire destroyed their young distillery Saturday night. There were no injuries, and there were no reports of people in the building when the fire erupted.

“It was shocking to run out of our house to see a large part of our business going up in flames,” Blain stated in a news release. “We do not know the cause of the fire. At the time, we were distilling water.”

The Westport Winery tasting room, the distillery’s tasting room and the Sea Glass Grill are on a different part of the estate and were not threatened by the fire. They remain open for daily business, as well as the family’s non-profit International Mermaid Museum, which debuted last month.

However, the pole building and everything that it contained were consumed by the blaze. That included the Ocean’s Daughter still, all of the company’s warehoused spirits, supplies, tools and thousands of empty wine bottles purchased for an upcoming bottling. The structure was insured, and the family said it plans to rebuild and resume spirit production.

Charter boat deckhand credited with saving winery

Westport Winery is on the Washington coast.
Westport Winery Garden Resort features a scale reproduction of the nearby Grays Harbor Lighthouse, as well as the Sea Glass Grill, a tasting room for the winery and Ocean’s Daughter Distillery, a gift shop, pitch-and-putt golf course, gardens, vineyards, a wedding venue and the International Mermaid Museum. (Photo by Andy Perdue/Great Northwest Wine)

Emergency dispatch received its first report about the fire at 10:57 p.m. An off-duty winery employee driving home along Highway 105 after an evening with friends spotted the flames, called 911 and drove to Carrie’s home on the estate to alert her.

The Roberts credit another passerby for pulling into the winery’s commercial driveway and using a garden hose to prevent the winery’s nearby production building and harvest cargo trailer from becoming consumed by the blaze. The South Beach Regional Fire Authority, which serves Grays Harbor and Pacific counties, battled the fire for several hours.

“We are so grateful to Scott, the deckhand from the charter boat Ranger, who was in our yard fighting the fire,” Kim Roberts wrote to her supporters. “We are especially appreciative to the professional and volunteer firefighters who responded to our call. They were with us all night.”

In 2016, Vineyard & Winery Management magazine, a national publication based in Santa Rosa, Calif., named Westport Winery among its Top 20 Most Admired Wineries in North America. The year prior, Westport Winery was voted as the Best Wine Tour by Seattle’s KING 5 Evening Magazine. Wine Press Northwest magazine selected Westport — which opened in 2008 — as its 2011 Washington Winery to Watch.

About Eric Degerman

Eric Degerman is the President and CEO of Great Northwest Wine. He is a journalist with more than 30 years of daily newspaper experience and has been writing about wine since 1998. He co-founded Wine Press Northwest magazine with Andy Perdue and served as its managing editor for a decade. He is a frequent wine judge at international wine competitions throughout North America and orchestrates 10 Northwest competitions each year.

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