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Eastside Winery Ditches 2020 Vintage Due to Wildfire Smoke Impacts
Betz Family Winery — a 24-year-old, well-respected operation that has a tasting room in Redmond — recently announced that it would not be releasing a vintage from 2020, due to the smoky impacts last year’s wildfires had on harvested grapes. The business has vineyards in Eastern Washington, as well as a Pinot Noir project from Oregon’s Willamette Valley, regions which endured a devastating wildfire season in the summer of 2020. Betz’s announcement highlights ongoing concerns many Pacific Northwest and California winemakers have on how the “taint” from wildfire smoke will affect the industry — in October 2020, several wineries in Oregon pulled out of grape contracts due to such factors. Now, with another potentially major wildfire season ahead, those fears will only grow and may lead to more wineries skipping vintages. “We never considered for one second sending wines to customers that are flawed,” the Betz owners told Great Northwest Wine. “While it is brutal to have to do this, the decision was easy.”
PCC Community Markets Delays Rainier Square Store to 2022
Ubiquitous high-end grocer PCC Community Markets has pushed back the planned opening of its new downtown location in the 58-floor Rainier Tower. Originally slated to open this summer, the outpost will now debut in 2022. PCC’s CEO Suzy Monford told the Puget Sound Business Journal that factors such as trouble hiring workers, additional hazard pay, and the lack of foot traffic in the downtown area contributed to the decision. Monford has come under fire in the past for opposing a Seattle bill this spring giving an extra $4 per hour for grocery store employees who work for larger chains (hazard pay for such workers had been on and off throughout the pandemic). PCC eventually relented on the issue, offering hazard pay for all its employees, not just in Seattle. The grocer has eight locations in the city itself and 15 total in King County and neighboring Snohomish County.
The Starbucks in Capitol Hill’s Old State Bank Building Won’t Reopen
While it may not come as a complete shock, the prominently placed Starbucks at Broadway and Pike on Capitol Hill is closed for good. The location — situated in the old State Bank building — had been dormant since July 2020, but it took Starbucks awhile to make the announcement that it wouldn’t be reopening, as reported by Capitol Hill Seattle. There’s already a Starbucks outpost in the QFC across the street, and, of course, plenty of other locations around, including the fancy Starbucks Reserve roastery a few blocks away. But that was some prime real estate in the neighborhood, and may be attractive to a new restaurant or bar.