The diversification of the Tri-Cities economy is perhaps best exemplified through the rise of the wine industry in Richland, Pasco, Kennewick and surrounding areas. The prime growing conditions of the area have always supported fine wine, but it wasn’t until the past decade or so that the industry really took off, earning additional fame and prestige for the region in the process. A recent Where To Retire Magazine article has now added to that growing esteem, labeling the Tri-Cities area one of the eight best parts of the country to retire that specializes in wine.
In many ways, the rise of the wine industry should not come as a shock to an area that has roots in agriculture and has long been known for its extended growing season and mild, agriculturally-friendly weather. The wine industry is simply an extension of that storied history and has been a gateway for many people to discover the Tri-Cities and the rich social atmosphere that surrounds not only the wine industry, but all aspects of the region. For those looking to retire that have an affinity for wine, it is no wonder that the Tri-Cities ranks highly as a destination.
One Taste and Then They’re Hooked
As the article rightly points out, many retirees travel to different parts of the United States and indeed around the world to pursue their love of wine, drinking in not only the local product, but the lifestyle that has sprouted up around the industry in a particular area. Each location evolves in its own way and the Tri-Cities is no different, augmenting the wine industry with events like farmers markets and other community-based activities that create an all-encompassing atmosphere that is difficult to resist for many retirees.
With that first taste, many retirees decide to live in an area that is rich in wine opportunities because of the lifestyle that surrounds the pastime. More than just a tourist destination, a wine-rich region like the Tri-Cities can quickly become a residence for those that a get a first taste of the fine wine produced and the beautiful scenery it is produced in. Indeed, with over 300 days of sunshine each year, it is no surprise that both grapes and retirees take well to the climate and the amenities afforded by the Tri-Cities.
One Part of an Evolving Area
The remarkable growth in the Tri-Cities area is of course not limited solely to the wine industry. Kennewick, Richland, Pasco and the surrounding areas have consistently ranked as some of the fastest growing in all of Washington and in fact Pasco in particular has been the fastest growing city in Washington at various times. That growth has created a population base that can support an ever-widening array of economic, social and recreational opportunities. The rise of the wine industry is certainly a great example of that growth, but it is not the only example to be seen. Impressive growth in the food service and health care industries in particular has strengthened the Tri-Cities economy considerably.
For an area that has gone through a variety of economic cycles, including a dependence on agriculture and a dependence on the federal government through the Hanford Site, the fact that the wine industry has been able to thrive and attract new residents to the area serves as positive foreshadowing for the future of the Tri-Cities. Southeastern Washington is quickly grabbing the attention of the state and of the entire Pacific Northwest and cities like Pasco, Richland and Kennewick are a big reason why. Local merchants and business leaders can now take pleasure in their role in the presence…all while taking pleasure in a fine glass of local Tri-Cities wine.