Location:Home > NEWS > Smasne, Tudor buy former Olsen winery in Prosser | Tri-City Herald

Smasne, Tudor buy former Olsen winery in Prosser | Tri-City Herald

Time:2017-10-13 12:05wine - Red wine life health Click:

Wine vintners village airfield estates olsen tudor

A winery that has stood empty for a half-decade has new owners.

Robert Smasne of Smasne Cellars and Sean Tudor of 2dor Wines have purchased the former Olsen Estates in the Vintners Village in Prosser. They also bought the lot just to the east of the facility, an area currently covered in grass.

“We both believe in the Yakima Valley,” Smasne said. “To have a home base here is really key for us.”

Smasne’s winemaking career began in 1998 when he worked for Covey Run. More than a decade ago, he launched his own winery and has built it up ever since.

Tudor and his father bought historic Otis Vineyards north of the Yakima Valley town of Grandview in late 2013. With it comes the oldest Cabernet Sauvignon vines in the state, planted by Otis Harlan in 1957.

We both believe in the Yakima Valley. To have a home base here is really key for us.

Robert Smasne, Smasne Cellars

The 12,000-square-foot winery has been for sale since the Olsen family shuttered its business in 2011 to focus exclusively on wine grape growing.

The highly respected farming family built the winery in 2006. The recession that began a year later turned out to be ill timed for the Olsens, who produced delicious wines with winemaker Kyle Johnson during their few years in the business.

Smasne said he’s excited about moving into the facility, which will serve as a tasting room and production area. Smasne and Tudor hope to have the tasting room open by mid-June and to have all the paperwork in place in time for harvest in September.

With Interstate 82 less than 100 yards away, the winery is one of the most visible in Washington. Every car that passes east toward Red Mountain, the Tri-Cities and Walla Walla drives right past it.

And even though the building has been closed for a half-decade, many visitors still stop by. Smasne said last week that on his first day of ownership, a couple stopped in to taste — even though no wines were available.

Owners of nearby wineries — several are within walking distance in the Vintners Village — said they are thrilled to hear the winery has new owners, as it will only help draw more visitors to the area.

All three families have long histories in the Yakima Valley. The Smasnes have been farming here for more than 100 years, with Robert Smasne part of the fourth generation.

This fulfills what my grandfather started. My whole family is excited and proud. I know my grandpa was smiling down on us when we were signing the papers.

Sean Tudor, 2dor Wines

Those old connections helped bring about the sale of the building.

Smasne mentioned that he was close to buying the building a couple of years ago, but the two families couldn’t quite come to an agreement. Early this year, Smasne’s father ran into a member of the Olsen family in town, and the two got to talking. Then Tudor suggested a partnership, and that got the deal moving.

About two months ago, the Smasne, 43, and Tudor, 29, made an offer.

“This fulfills what my grandfather started,” Tudor said. “My whole family is excited and proud. I know my grandpa was smiling down on us when we were signing the papers.”

For Smasne, the location is convenient because he lives in Prosser. For Tudor, he’s about four miles from Otis Vineyards to the winery.

Smasne also has custom winemaking clients, including highly regarded Northwest Cellars in Kirkland. All of the production will move to the new facility. Smasne Cellars is about 3,000 cases, and Smasne also owns Farm Boy and Farm Girl Wines, both of which are a few thousand cases.

It’s amazing how many people have contacted us. They’re just so thankful that someone is going to come in and open this again.

Robert Smasne, Smasne Cellars

Smasne also makes the wine for 2dor Wines, which launched with the 2014 vintage. So far, white and rosé wines have been released, but the first vintage of reds was bottled a few weeks ago. Next year, the 2dor 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon from the 1957 vines will be released on the 60th anniversary of the vines being planted.

Until earlier this spring, Smasne had a tasting room in Kennewick. He closed that when his lease came up in March in anticipation of partnering with Tudor to buy the Olsen building. He also has a tasting room in the Woodinville Warehouse District.

“It’s amazing how many people have contacted us,” Smasne said of the building purchase. “They’re just so thankful that someone is going to come in and open this again.”

The building features a fully equipped commercial kitchen and accommodates caterers. Smasne and Tudor hope to ultimately add some kind of food service on weekends.

Andy Perdue is a wine journalist, author and judge. Learn more about wine at

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