Stu Watson
 
October 6, 2014 | Stu Watson

Growing popularity of Naked wines leads to new facility, consolidation

For Naked Winery, wine is sexy.

As for production and storage and administrative space? Not so sexy. But, like any business, Naked needs all that stuff to deliver the goods. Just think of facilities and space and desks as the business equivalent of … well, lingerie and lipstick.

Only different. So, after years of doing a variety of things in a variety of places,Naked this year embarked on its first major expansion in years.

Fortunate for the affected Nakedians, it involved a relatively short move -- across Industrial Loop from the former, somewhat funky space that everyone casually called “West”.

'Secret Weapon' Becky Williams hard at work cooking up mischief.

(because it was west of the downtown Hood River tasting room)

The new, two-level space opens to a light, airy office space overlooking the Columbia River and Mt. Adams. It will be home to customer service, marketing and social media outreach.

Dave Barringer, Naked's president, credits local Internet access provider Gorge Networks with bringing all of Naked's disparate computers onto the same network.

“It really changed our business,” Barringer says. “It made us more efficient. It made customer service better. It made everything better.”

Downstairs – out of sight, but definitely not out of mind – winemaker Peter Steinfeld has a spacious new playground and several new toys.

“This is a big deal, for us to do it all here,” says Barringer.

Previously, winemaking occurred in mainly in Naked's “West” Hood River winery, at facilities of Cascade Cliffs and Pheasant Valley wineries in the Gorge, and at shared facilities in southern Oregon.

“We get a lot of grapes from southern Oregon,” Barringer says. “We do the crush and fermentation down there.”

The new facility features a new crushing and de-stemming line, plus two new and large open-top ferment tanks capable of holding 1,093 gallons each.

Barringer says the facility can process up to 400 tons of grapes a year. Naked needs it. Sales are running more than 30 percent ahead of sales during the same period in 2013.

Although the main Hood River tasting space will remain at the corner of Second and Cascade downtown, the new production space will also feature a small tasting area, for special events and barrel tastings.

“It gives us the ability to create and host events in the winery,” Barringer says.

In short, more space equals more wine equals more fun.

Entry to office space at Naked's new space in Hood River.

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