City Permits Delay Nectar Tasting Room Opening

SPOKANE, Wash. - The Nectar Tasting Room, a new small business specializing in wine tastings and sales in downtown Spokane, was slated to open this month but unexpected zoning hurdles has forced the launch date to be pushed back.

"I think I've gotten a little more gray hair in the process and lost a little bit of hair too," jokes Josh Wade standing inside the empty commercial space at the corner of Stevens and Main.

Wade is the man behind the Nectar Tasting Room, whose goal is to bring wines from Central Washington vineyards to downtown Spokane, where he would hold tastings and sell wines.

"Five Washington wineries are going to share this space and it'll become their satellite location," Wade said.

While the plan was to open the location this week, permit delays now mean the business might not open for several weeks or not until early next year.

"They have me coded at as a night club and it's a winery really," Wade said.

A nightclub zoning designation would mean additional requirements from the city. Wade said he'd have to install additional sprinklers, a fourth bathroom and make other costly improvements.

"We're talking about thousands and thousands of dollars that hinder progress," Wade said.

If Nectar Tasting Room can jump through the city's zoning hurdles, it could become as successful as its neighbor Barrister Winery located in the west downtown core.

"We had a very small vision and it's grown," said Greg Lipsker, co-owner of Barrister Winery.

Two friends came up with the vision for Barrister Winery a decade ago and now the business is celebrating its 10th harvest. When the first batch of wine was made at Barrister about a half dozen wineries existed in Spokane. Today that number has nearly doubled.

"I think it's great for Spokane, great for the economy and it's really good for the wineries in Spokane," Lipsker said.

The City of Spokane says it supports small business growth and a meeting is being scheduled between city officials and the Nectar Tasting Room to resolve the permit delays.