SuLei Cellars is on the grow. The Walla Walla winery expands to downtown Vancouver, Wash., with a new tasting room.

Owners Tanya Woodley and Elaine Jomwe are preparing the space at 613 Main St., Vancouver, for an additional tasting room location, they said. A grand opening date is pending.

The growth marks a return to their pre-Walla Walla roots. Winemaker Woodley was born in Vancouver and graduated from high school there.

She and Jomwe, a Hawaii native who grew up in Myrtle Creek, Ore., met in 1995. They lived in Portland and discovered their interest in wine before moving here to start their own winery.

Woodley graduated from the Enology & Viticulture program at Walla Walla Community College in 2007.SuLei’s first 250-case release came in 2009. Woodley handles the juice while Jomwe balances the business side.

She and Woodley will take turns going back and forth and balancing with the Walla Walla tasting room at 17 N. Second Ave.

Longtime boat dealer weighs anchor, heads to Pasco

Nixon’s Marine is an empty vessel. Inventory has been moved to its new location in Pasco, 3025 Travel Plaza Way. The departure from the building was part of the plan when longtime owners Jeff and Kathy Priester announced in late 2017 they were selling the business, as well as its Lakewood, Wash., location, to Shawn O’Connell. The two also planned to stay on board with him for two years to help through the transition. With another couple dozen boats left to move yet, Priester said he’s on the lookout for a tenant for the Isaacs Avenue dealership property.

Started in 1959 by Paul Nixon and his brothers, the business began with fishing and recreational boats, snowmobiles and motorcycles. It added Glastron bass boats and expanded as a Skeeter Boat dealer.

Jeff Priester joined as an employee in 1974 and bought the company in the early 1980s.

Vicki Hillhouse can be reached at 509-526-8321, or on Twitter at

Vicki covers business and economic development, including tourism, the Port of Walla Walla and the Strictly Business column, as well as features. She has been reporting for the Union-Bulletin since late 2001.

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