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Food, Agriculture, and Animals

Polar Express For Grown-Ups: Washington Wine Shipments Frantic Before Holidays

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Anna King
/
Northwest News Network
Jim Kleist runs the west coast for a large wine and produce shipping company called RailEx. The Wallula, Washington, wine facility is as big as 11 football fields under one roof.

For the Northwest wine industry this is crunch time. A massive rail and trucking facility in southeast Washington is pushing its final shipments out to arrive on store shelves before the New Year.

Jim Kleist runs the west coast for a large shipping company called RailEx. The company has nearly filled its new cellar-temperature wine warehouse that spans about 11 football fields under one roof outside of the Tri-Cities.

“And right now the wine warehouse is borderline crazy,” Kleist said.

This time of year about 45 semi trucks depart this facility on the daily. They ship wine to every corner of the U.S. There’s even a swift, direct train to the East Coast.

The company ships about 50 percent more wine than usual this time of year.