Westport Winery wins state business award | The Daily World

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Westport Vineyard Resort is a true family business, with Kim, Blaine and their daughter, Carrie, owning and running the show.

And with 15 years of recognition at the port, their business may be a little longer after receiving the good news in early November.

Recently, the company won the Washington Business Association (AWB) Excellence in Family Ownership Award. The association has more than 700 members, including many internationally recognized businesses.

The family felt like “country mice” when Kim, the company’s vice president, was out in Seattle to attend an AWB event. The Roberts family didn’t know they were there to receive an award.

“We were nominated for this award a year ago and were a finalist,” Kim said. “So when they asked us if we wanted to do it again this year, we were delighted to do so. But we went into this awards ceremony and thought we’d be a finalist again because we’re a small business in a remote part of the state. We didn’t know we won until they opened the envelope on stage and announced our name. I was so shocked I started crying.

This isn’t the first time this Westport Vineyard Resort — 1 S. Arbor Rd., in Aberdeen — has received an award — not by a long shot. In the year In 2017, the company placed second in a competition with other top wine producers in the country. However, this is the first time that the company as a whole has received such an honor.

“It’s probably the biggest honor we’ve ever received and we’re lucky to be honored in so many different ways,” Kim said. “It was great because there were big businesses like Bristol Myers Squibb, Boeing, Amazon and Praira, and when they announced our award, someone in the corner yelled, ‘Go Grays Harbor!’

Kim was really shocked because last year when the company was nominated for an award, the winners had pre-written comments when they won. She assumed the winners had already been called.

“I didn’t prepare a speech because no one told me we won, and when we won, I went there completely unprepared,” Kim said. “And so all I said was, ‘First, we’re incredibly surprised to receive this award, but second, even though Grays Harbor isn’t the wealthiest county in the state, it’s very beautiful and we invite everyone to visit.'”

Kim said the award to the Grays Harbor area is “in a real way” to let Seattle and Eastern Washington know that Grays Harbor is a travel destination.

“You’re most welcome,” Kim said. “It’s beautiful, people have so many things to do here. And expand our visibility as a community and as a region,” he said.

The nomination came from within, from AWB. Kim somehow came up with the name of their company AWB. Maybe it had something to do with Seaglass Grill, another part of the Westport Vineyard Resort, which won second place for top wineries in the country in 2017.

“It’s crazy, it’s fun, it’s fun and it’s humbling, because we’re pretty ordinary people,” Kim said. “We work seven days a week and we have an amazing group of people. And I think that’s part of the Washington Business Awards, does this organization really represent employers and employees? And our employees are the heart of what we do here. All the locals and people working hard, showing up and doing the jobs. They work.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, the job was tough. Westport Vineyards Resort has demonstrated the flexibility to survive.

“When we open and close it and change it and turn it around,” Kim said. “If we were a grocery store, we would be a grocery store. If we could eat out, we would do outdoor dining, hand sanitizer. You just have to be really efficient and I think that’s one of the things that you see in the decision to honor us with this award.

Blaine called receiving the award “a huge honor.”

“We really pride ourselves on bringing people from the area into our community,” Blaine said. “Most of our customers drive two to two and a half hours to get here and that’s important to our whole community. I think this adds value.

Kim loves having the International Mermaid Museum, which includes decades of ocean-related artifacts. Each exhibit has information so people can learn more about it.

“It wouldn’t hurt to have a museum where we came up with this crazy mermaid museum. It’s proven to be a really strong attraction.” Kim said. “We get over 100,000 visitors here at the winery.”

Perhaps those visitors come for the “true blue” Malbec wines that Roberts sells. It is soft, sweet and goes down easily.

Blaine called the visitor number statistics “a little crazy, considering we’re in the middle of nowhere.”

“Only people who want wine for a long time come here,” Kim said. “When we added the restaurant and distillery, the garden and then the museum, it really became a family destination, which was the hope all along. It was meant to be a place where everyone could hang out, have fun and make memories.

Located off State Route 105 between Aberdeen and Westport, the resort features an award-winning restaurant, Ocean’s Daughter Distillery, a museum and a strolling garden.

Kim talked about one of her favorite parts of running the resort, which is the two spaces that visitors can rent on site.

“My favorite thing is working with my husband and son,” Kim said of Blaine and Carrie. “We’re together every day. We’re a very strong team, we’re very close friends and we balance each other out because we have different strengths.

Kim also talked about Blaine’s strengths that help make the business a success.

“He lets me have crazy ideas and he pays the bills, that’s a huge strength,” Kim said. “He’s also incredibly calm and composed. And as a husband and father, he is an excellent presenter.

Blaine added how his family drew him to the history of seafaring.

“Kim was one of the First Lady’s charter fishing captains in Westport and did so for 12 years,” Blaine said. “For 25 years I owned and operated the largest scuba-diving business in the state of Hawaii. So that’s when we opened the Mermaid Museum and used our knowledge and history in the marine world to do that. The Mermaid Museum not only talks about mermaids but also about the ocean ecosystem.

Blaine talked about a few of Kim’s strengths.

“She’s the creative genius behind everything,” Blaine said. “Kim is very creative. She was an architect in her previous life. And she looks well into the future and sees opportunities and possibilities.

One of Kim’s strengths is that Roberts saw the resort’s potential when they bought the property in 2008.

“Topped with Himalayan blackberries and Scotch whisk. You couldn’t even walk on the property,” Blaine said. But she can imagine what we are today and how we got there, because nobody has the kind of money you do overnight. Every year we reinvest the company’s assets to make it a better place for the public. And she had the creative vision to imagine what would happen and keep working every day to get there.

Part of Kim’s strengths was her artistic skills, which she used to draw all the labels for Meredad’s ghosts. Blaine says some people buy his spirit for the label.

Kim then explained Carrie’s strengths.

“She’s our business partner and she has amazing strengths,” Kim said. She is a very detail oriented person. Whether it’s customer service or finance, she manages those important details to keep the business strong and strong.

Blaine added to his daughter’s strength.

“There are a lot of different tax standards and rules and regulations that we have to follow,” Blaine said. “She’s good at all of that. She can guide the company through the different things that need to happen.”

Kim said the company will celebrate it at their Christmas party.

“We try to have a good time together,” Kim said. “We all work so hard and there’s no time where we all just hang out for a minute and talk, get to know each other as people.”

As for the customers, such an award would not be possible without them.

“They brought us to the dance,” Kim said. “Our rule is always dance with whoever brings you. Our community, our club members, our fans, our supporters, the key to our success is them and our team.

Contact reporter Matthew N. Wells at matthew.wells@thedailyworld.com.

Matthew N. Wells / The Daily World Westport Vineyard Resort - 1 S.  Arbor Road, Aberdeen - Home to many elements that make it a travel destination, including the award-winning Sea Glass Grill, Ocean's Daughter Diversion, International Mermaid Museum and Walkable Gardens.

Matthew N. Wells / The Daily World Westport Vineyard Resort – 1 S. Arbor Road, Aberdeen – Home to many elements that make it a travel destination, including the award-winning Sea Glass Grill, Ocean’s Daughter Diversion, International Mermaid Museum and Walkable Gardens.

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