Lost Mountain Winery announces closure

After 28 years in the industry, Steve and Sue Conca will toast their wine glasses one last time.

Lost Mountain Winery is celebrating the release of its final new wine - a 2005 vintage called "Arrivederci," an Italian term meaning "farewell" or "until we meet again." When the wine in stock runs out or the calendar reaches Labor Day weekend - whichever comes first - the winery will close its doors for good.

"We've kept this kind of quiet until we knew for sure it's what we wanted to do but last year we sold all our big equipment to other wineries, so at this point, we are committed," said Sue Conca about the decision, which is three years in the making.

"Anybody who has a small business knows you have to live it and breathe it 24/7, but we are getting older and it's time to have a little bit of fun."

The Concas will stay in

Sequim at their Lost Mountain home site and plan to renovate and rent the winery's tasting room and production facility.

"We've got a big 'to-do' list," said Sue Conca, 61.

The first few weeks after the winery closes will be spent tending to the 30-acre property, fixing fences, enlarging the garden, updating the solar power system, and traveling.

The couple used to enjoy hiking in the Olympics but hasn't done so in years.

"That will one of our first trips," said Steve Conca, 59.

"The second will be out west to the ocean and beaches."

Too young for retirement, the couple will seek out jobs after a few months off.

Before joining the family business, Steve Conca worked as a carpenter and contractor.

Sue Conca, according to her husband, is a "great organizer" and won't have trouble finding a job.

Selling the business was never an option.

"Nobody in the family was interested in taking it over and we don't want to sell it outside the family," Steve Conca said.

"We've had a good run and are ready to call it quits and let it be a good memory for everybody."

A third-generation wine-maker, Steve Conca joined his father in business in 1981. When Romeo Conca died in 1997, Steve and Sue took over.

Lost Mountain Winery was the 18th licensed winery in the state - a number that has since increased to more than 600. It's one of only a handful of wineries that produces sulfite-free wines.

"It's been fascinating to do and an honor to be in the forefront of this industry," Sue Conca said about the last two-and-a-half decades.

"But winemaking isn't glamorous like everybody thinks. It's a lot of hard work and long hours scrubbing tanks and standing out in the cold with a watering hose."

Despite the hard work, the Concas are walking away with precious memories.

One of their favorite recollections includes a couple from California who visited the winery on their first date. A few years later, the same man placed a special order for a bottle of wine with a message on the cork reading "Will you marry me?"

The couple is still married and visited the winery a couple months ago.

"I think about all the places our wine goes and the holidays, family gatherings and special events it's involved in and I am just amazed at all the places a piece of us is sitting on the table," Sue Conca said.

What's happening at

Lost Mountain Winery

The Lost Mountain Winery tasting room is open 11 a.m.-

5 p.m. Saturday-Sunday. Telephone orders are accepted all week.

The tasting room will expand its hours to seven days a week starting Memorial Day weekend. An open house and goodbye celebration is scheduled from 11 a.m.-

5 p.m., Saturday, June 27.

April 18-19, the winery is participating in a Northwest Wine & Cheese Tour and partnering with Beecher's Handmade Cheese.

For more information, stop by the tasting room at 3174 Lost Mountain Road or call 683-5229.

Reach Ashley Miller at

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