Frichette Winery

FRICHETTE WINERY

Greg and Shae Frichette
Photo: Rich Breshears

Vintner – Greg Frichette

What is the story around your winery?
While living in California, I wanted to start a family and be closer to family, so I convinced my wife, Shae, that we should flip a coin. If it landed on heads, we’d move to Washington where my folks are and if the coin landed on tails, we’d move to South Carolina where her folks are. Luckily, the coin landed on heads and we moved to Washington where I grew up. We wanted to start a business and since we enjoyed wine, we learned how to make it and opened our business.

How long have you been making wine in Washington state?
I started making wine with consultant/winemaker Charlie Hoppes in 2011. Today, Shae and I make over 2,000 cases of wine out of our winery on Red Mountain.

What is your favorite part of being a member of the Washington state wine community?
My favorite part is being surrounded by experienced winemakers who are willing to share knowledge and expertise. I also enjoy being a part of the industry at a time when it’s growing and developing.

What do you think the future holds for Washington state wine. Where are we headed or what trends are you seeing?
It feels like the growers are really getting the vineyard practices dialed in to create superior quality fruit, which makes the job of the winemaker easier. I see winemakers stretching themselves creatively with using different aging vessels for specific wines and bringing lesser-known varieties to the forefront. Consumers are learning more about #wawines and providing opportunities for winemakers to make more wines to share.

What is your favorite wine and food pairing?
My favorite pairing would have to be Petit Verdot with a stinky Stilton blue cheese.

 


 

Photo: Duval Images

Grower: Marshall Edwards

What is your story around wine grape growing?
Actually, my wife, Rhonda was the first one in our family to start in the wine business. Her career began in 1984 with Ste Michelle Wine Estates. In 1991 she informed me of an opening for an Equipment Supervisor at their Canoe Ridge Vineyard. I really enjoyed the challenges of working in the vineyards and quickly knew this was the career for me. I eventually became the assistant vineyard manager at Canoe Ridge and was later promoted to Vineyard Manager at the SMWE Cold Creek location. After being employed for 17 years I decided to accept my present position as Vineyard Operations Manager with Shaw Vineyards.

How long have you been growing grapes in Washington state?
From 1991 to present date……approximately 29 years.

What is your favorite part of being a part of the Washington state wine community?
My favorite part of the community is the people. I enjoy working with the vineyard crews who, in my belief, are the most important part of growing quality fruit, the Viticulturists, and the people in all the wineries that I get to work with. Our industry includes the best group of people who are always are willing to help me out with any issues that may arise in the vineyards.

What do you think the future holds for Washington state wine? Where are we headed or what trends are you seeing?
I think the future is looking bright for the continuation of growing high-quality fruit. We are selling more and more grapes every year to wineries back east, including Ohio, Missouri, Pennsylvania, and New York. I am seeing more interest trending from Oregon and California wineries due to their environmental issues.

What is your favorite wine and food pairing?
Red Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon and a good rib eye steak.

 


 

Photo: Crimson Vine Marketing

Vineyard Worker: Eduardo Zaragoza

What is your background, how did you come to work at the vineyard?
I started working for Shaw Vineyards in 1998, in Mattawa, Washington performing vineyard general labor. I got to learn and enjoyed my job, and at the same time, I learned a lot about growing high quality grapes. In 2004, I asked the Shaw administration for the opportunity to supervise the NorthStar vineyard in the Benton City area. NorthStar vineyard is the first Red Mountain Vineyard that Shaw owned in the area. That is when my career took off, and from overseeing that small, 10-acre property, I have grown, professionally, to manage almost 1,000 acres nowadays. I manage all vineyard’s field operations from pruning to harvesting.

How long have you been working in this capacity?
It has been about three years with the actual vineyard manager title; but I have been with Shaw vineyards, at all different supervisory positions, for more than 20 years, where I have grown both personally and professionally, along with the company. I am very appreciative of Shaw Vineyards for believing in me and giving me the opportunity to be part of this industry.

What is your favorite part of being a part of the Washington state wine community?
It is a very exciting community. I have seen it growing fast in the time I have been around with Shaw, and I think there is still room to grow. My favorite part is that I am part of this wine making community, and that we do care for growing high quality grapes and working with the winemakers to produce excellent wines. And, of course, tasting the final product!

What do you think the future holds for Washington state wine. Where are we headed or what trends are you seeing?

I think that the main trend in the WA wine industry is to continue being focused on producing the same level of high-quality wines. We have the right climatic, soils, and other growing conditions; we need to take advantage of that. I think that actual growth may start slowing down a bit in the next few years, as we have other challenges, including hand labor, but at the same time this may allow for keeping the commitment of producing just high-quality grapes and wines.

What fact can you share about your job that wine-drinkers might not know?

Passion. I like my job and every day I put everything on making sure we do our best to grow those excellent grapes and take care of those plants. When wine drinkers can savor and enjoy our Washington wines, that makes me, and everyone involved in the process, happy!

Two Mountain Winery logo

TWO MOUNTAIN WINERY

JANUARY 2021 SPOTLIGHT

vintner Matt Rawn

Vintner: Matt Rawn

What is the story around your winery? 
Ours is a story not completely unique to the Washington Wine Industry, but it is our own!  Our family was a long time tree fruit farming family in the Zillah area.  I helped plant our first vineyard in 2000 with my late Uncle Ron Schmidt.  Uncle Ron was close friends with the Stan Clark, a man amongst the Washington wine ‘godfathers’.  Stan and Uncle Ron convinced me to enroll in the first enology and viticulture class at Walla Walla.  I was lucky enough to commute with Stan from Zillah to Walla Walla every day.  We would talk wine, baseball, vineyards and life.  I learned so much on those daily drives.  Shortly after enrolling Uncle Ron and I decided to start making wine commercially and created Two Mountain Winery.

How long have you been making wine in Washington state?
Since 2002.  Wow, has it been that long already?

What is your favorite part of being a member of the Washington state wine community?
The quality of the grapes and wine being grow, the growth of the industry and the recognition and desire for it from around the globe. Also, the fact that it very much feels like a community trying to grow and create something. The full potential has not yet been realized.  It’s rare to have an entire industry that has success of the whole at mind as much as individual success.

What do you think the future holds for Washington state wine. Where are we headed or what trends are you seeing?
There is no limit to the future.  As a state the quality of the grapes/wine being grown and the people making it happen are second to none.  Combine that with the ever-growing knowledge of Washington wine from all parts of the county (and globe) and I’m not sure I see anything but an upward trajectory.  

As I travel around the country working with our distribution and retail partners, I see a growing appetite to not only consume but to learn about Washington wine.  Consumers increasingly want to understand the story of the wines they enjoy, and Washington has a great story to go along with the amazing wines.  Being able to have those conversation with consumers is awesome.

What is your favorite wine and food pairing? 
Not to sound too cliche’…Rose’ and Street Tacos! This is such a hard combination for me to ever pass up.  Both have lots of flavor, lots of structure, lots of nuance, and lots of versatility.  Unfortunately, to a lot of people, neither are considered terribly complicated.  However, when each are done right, we all know better!

 


 

Grower: Patrick Rawn

What is your/your family’s story around wine grape growing?
We are fourth generation Yakima Valley farmers.  Our grandfather grew up farming in Zillah and our grandparents started their farm and family where our winery is located in 1951.  We have deep roots in agriculture in the valley and Zillah.  Historically the family has farmed tree fruit with the first vineyard being planted in 2000.  We converted fully to wine grape production in 2006 and really look at our role and stewards for the future.  Farming in a place that has meant so much to our family is a really important part of our “why”.

How long have you been growing grapes in Washington state?
I have been back in the valley farming since 2004.

What is your favorite part of being a part of the Washington state wine community?
The sense of camaraderie in the wine industry is my favorite part. In other regions or agricultural sectors there is much more of an attitude of competition.  One of Washington’s ‘unfair advantages’ is the sense of unity within the industry.  Baked into the industry’s DNA is an understanding that we are all in this together.  It is really fun to be able learn so much from the ‘founders’ of the Washington wine industry while simultaneously helping those who are newer.

What do you think the future holds for Washington state wine? Where are we headed or what trends are you seeing?
The quality of the finished wines continues to improve, and I think we are just now nearing that tipping point from a Washington brand awareness standpoint on the global scale.  The opportunity is boundless.  Trend wise I think the push towards sustainability is really exciting.  We have made the investment to certify all our estate vineyards through Rules for Sustainable Winegrowing and are very excited to see the movement by so many starting to make similar investments.  Washington has always been a leader in sustainable farming and we just starting to talk about it to consumers.

What is your favorite wine and food pairing?
Cab Franc and anything off the grill.  I think Cab Franc is such a special variety when done well.  I am still in the love the elegance and how pretty well made Cab Franc is the glass.  Pairing that elegance with simplicity of grilled meats and vegetables gets me every time.

 


 

vineyard worker, Eliceo Gil

Vineyard Worker: Eliceo Gil

What is your background, how did you come to work at the vineyard?
I started working in agriculture in high school.  I have always enjoyed being outside and watching the crop grow throughout the season.  It is really gratifying to see all of the year’s work come together at harvest.  My good friend, and our current irrigator, introduced me to my first opportunity to work in grapes.  The rest is history…

How long have you been working in this capacity?
I began working in the vineyard industry in 2002 and started working with Two Mountain as foreman in 2008.

What is your favorite part of being a part of the Washington state wine community?
My favorite part of the Washington wine industry is the sense of shared mission.  The wine industry’s Latino Agriculture Education Program has been instrumental in connecting me to the broader industry and understanding what we are all trying to achieve.  The Washington wine community providing education opportunities is great.

What do you think the future holds for Washington state wine. Where are we headed or what trends are you seeing?
I think our continued work on improving quality creates a really great future.  We work very hard on learning and getting better.  That can only yield continued success. A trend I have noticed over the last 10 years is the increased percentage of vineyard employees that are women. Over 60% of our team are women which is terrific. The different perspective and skillsets that a more gender diverse team brings to the farm everyday really helps us achieve our quality objectives.

What fact can you share about your job that wine-drinkers might not know?
The effort and attention to detail it takes to grow amazing wine grapes. Growing high quality grapes takes a deep understanding of each vineyard site.  It takes a long time and lots of work to learn the needs of each site and block to maximize the quality.

Industry Spotlight

Vintner, Grower
& Vineyard Worker Spotlight


What’s the story behind the wine in the bottle?

What brought the winemaker to Washington, how did the grower pick a specific site for a varietal, what are some of the challenges of harvest?

With over 1,000 wineries in our amazing state, learn more about the people and their passion in bringing joy to your glass.

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