Chateau Ste. Michelle

Vice President of Winemaking – Katie Nelson

  1. What is your/your family’s story around your winery?
    My great grandfather made wine in his basement, in Chicago, before prohibition. As a child, wine was always part of our lengthy Sunday Italian dinners. I love how it brought people together and helped create these lively family gatherings. I always say anyone can sit down to a meal and a bottle of wine and leave as friends. I studied Chemistry in Sonoma, California and soon realized I could make a career out of making wine.2. How long have you been making wine in Washington state?
    Since 1997. Time flies!3. What is your favorite part of being a part of the Washington state wine community?
    When I began making wine in Washington, there were only about 100 wineries. Now there are more than 1000. I love being part of this community and help shape the future of the Washington Wine Industry. This wine community is so close. We are all here to support each other and make sure that Washington is recognized as one of the best regions there is, from the growers, winemakers, viticulturists, and researchers.4. What do you think the future holds for Washington state wine. Where are we headed or what trends are you seeing?
    As we move into second and third generation of vineyard plantings, and gain more AVAs, I think we will continue to fine tune which varietals grow best in each region. This will continue to improve our wine quality and help give an identity to the consumer. This evolution from farmer, to wine grower is exciting to me. I am also excited about the consumer trend moving away from very ripe and over-oaked wines to more vibrant, fresh and fruit driven wines. When we find these unique and exciting vineyards, we don’t want to cover them up.

    5. What is your favorite wine and food pairing?
    Since it’s summer, I would say spicy shrimp tacos and Riesling.


Vineyard Manager, Cold Creek Vineyard – Joe Cotta

  1. What is your/your family’s story around wine grape growing?
    My Great Grandfather, Joe Cotta Sr, immigrated from the Azores of Portugal to the United States in 1919. He started a dairy business in Lodi, CA, where his only son invested in planting vineyards in the 1970s. That business grew and eventually my father was gifted a vineyard to farm. I grew up on a 600-acre vineyard operation, learning every part of the industry. After obtaining an MS degree in Viticulture from UC Davis, I started a vineyard consulting business, near St. Louis, MO. Growing grapevines in the difficult climate of Missouri, taught me how to grow grapevines, anywhere in the world. I came Ste. Michelle in 2009 to manage Cold Creek Vineyard. It’s the best!2. How long have you been growing grapes in Washington state?
    12 years3. What is your favorite part of being a part of the Washington state wine community?
    Building relationships is definitely my favorite part of being in the WA state wine community. I enjoy working with other industry members to create a greater WA wine industry. There are many wonderful people in this industry.4. What do you think the future holds for Washington state wine. Where are we headed or what trends are you seeing?
    Washington state is uniquely placed as a premier winegrowing region in the world, that has room to expand. We’re also adapting to create better wines with less resources, increasing our ease of sustainability. Our technology, expertise, innovation, and focus have all been continually improving. Whatever challenges lie ahead, we’ll be ready to meet them and grow as an industry.

    5. What is your favorite wine and food pairing?
    There are so many, but in the end, I enjoy a steak with a big, red wine, as much as anyone.


Production Foreman – Jose Guerrero

  1. What is your/your family’s story around wine grape growing?
    My wife and I began working in the wine grape industry in 1985. My wife, started first in June of that year. She began installing drip-tube in recently established blocks.After finishing hops harvest with Wyckoff farms, I applied at Cold Creek vineyards. I began harvesting grapes from Block 02, in September of 1985. I have worked as a picker, pruner, irrigator, machine operator, sprayer, crew lead/foreman and various other jobs throughout my career.
  2. How long have you been growing grapes in Washington state?
    I have been working at Cold Creek vineyards consecutively for 36 years. Since September 20th, 1985.
  3. What is your favorite part of being a part of the Washington state wine community?
    My favorite part about being a part of the wine community is the relationships.  I have established many, along the way.  I’ve also experienced many good opportunities and experiences for me and my family, just by being part of this industry.
  4. What do you think the future holds for Washington State wine. Where are we headed or what trends are you seeing?
    Mechanization has been the most obvious trend and seems to be the way of the future. Over the course of my 36-year career at Cold Creek, there have been many changes to the way the vineyard operates and many new pieces of equipment have changed the way grapes are farmed.
  5. What is your favorite wine and food pairing?
    Carne Asada and Cabernet Sauvignon.
AUCTION OF WASHINGTON WINES

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