DeLille Cellars

Director of Winemaking and Viticulture – Jason Gorski

1. What is your/your family’s story around your winery? 

DeLille is a privately owned company, with owners that are not family members. However, my wife and I met at DeLille, and have since married and started a family of our own. Between us, we have been with the winery for over 25 years – and have enjoyed watching the winery, and the WA wine industry grow. 

2. How long have you been making wine in Washington state? 

2022 will be my 19th WA state harvest.  

3. What is your favorite part of being a part of the Washington state wine community? 

Easily the people that I get to work with. I feel privileged to work with friends and co-workers both within DeLille, and with our vineyard, cooperage, logistics and bottling partners. I have formed strong friendships with some amazing people along the way. 

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

I believe WA state will remain on the path of discovery. The pioneering culture of our state will continue to see us pushing the boundaries of wine growing and wine making, with new techniques, sites and varieties. WA has the unique ability to make wonderful wines both from single varietal / vineyards, and blends across varietal and site. The main change for the future will be that the world will learn more about the incredible wines we are already producing, and the potential for the region. 

5. What is your favorite wine and food pairing? 

I love cooking and sharing food and wine with friends and family, and there are so many pairings that are sublime. However, nothing beats Delille’s Chaleur Blanc (Sauvignon Blanc / Semillon blend) with fresh Dungeness crab! 


Vineyard Operations Manager, Shaw Vineyards – Marshall Edwards

1. What is your/your family’s story around your winery? 

Like most great things in my life, it started with my wife, Rhonda. 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 always enjoyed the challenges of farming and quickly grew to love working in the vineyards. After a few years of fine tuning my experience, I eventually became the assistant vineyard manager at Canoe Ridge and later was promoted to Vineyard Manager at the SMWE Cold Creek location, which I held for 7 years. After a very rewarding 17-year career at SMWE, I decided to take on a new position at Shaw Vineyards as their Operations Manager overseeing 3000 acres of grapes in seven AVAs. 

2. How long have you been making wine in Washington state? 

The 2022 growing- season is my 31st harvest. 

3. What is your favorite part of being a part of the Washington state wine community? 

It’s the people in the industry. Life is all about relationships, and I have been fortunate enough to work with some incredible people. Some of the closest relationships I have developed are with my crews. They are the backbone of our industry and work tirelessly to help ensure that Washington state is amongst the top regions in the world. I have also been fortunate enough to work with some of the top wineries in our state that turn our grapes into world class wines. Our industry includes the best group of people who always are willing to help their neighbor with any issues that may arise. It’s a collaborative effort.  

4. 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 continuation of growing high-quality fruit. Each year, we are selling more and more fruit in different areas. We are expanding our reach and currently have customers from Ohio, Missouri, Pennsylvania, and New York sourcing fruit. With ongoing environmental changes, Washington state has the land, water and tenacity to continue growing both in quantity and quality. 

5. What is your favorite wine and food pairing? 

Red Mountain Cabernet and a good rib eye steak. 


Maria S. Rivera

Vineyard Production Manager, Shaw Vineyards – Maria S. Rivera

1. What is your background, how did you come to work at the vineyard? 

I was born and raised in the city of Coalcoman, in the state of Michoacan, Mexico. I started working at the vineyards in 2010. It all started because the area that I arrived to live, Benton County, was surrounded by vineyards, which it was very interesting for me. I knew of Washington apples but never thought about wine grapes. A friend of mine, who was working in the industry already, invited me to work, and it happened to be one of the Shaw Vineyards’ properties.

2. How long have you been working in this capacity? 

My first job was to perform general vineyard labor, which it was really interesting, and I enjoyed it very much. I imagine it was my enthusiasm for this type of labor that showed, during my first days in the company, that a few weeks later I was offered to stay and become a full-time employee. That motivation helped me to continue learning and getting better. Since then, I have transitioned from a general labor employee to crew-boss, and then to a supervisory position. At this position, I was offered the opportunity to attend a series of educational programs focused on wine grape production and offered by Wenatchee Valley College. Those programs cover all aspects of wine grapes production, including integrated pest management and general vineyard management. Going through these programs helped to understand better the why of the production practices and allowed me to grow both personal and professionally. This academic opportunity opened the door for me to be invited to become one of the Production Mangers of the company, which is my current position within the Shaw Vineyards company.  
 

3. What is your favorite part of being a part of the Washington state wine community? 

I really enjoy my job! I get amazed to see the entire growing process of the vines. All the way from planting and through all stages of development…until they get ready to be harvested. Just getting the feeling that the fruit is ready for harvest; to know the grapes reach their sugar and acid levels, ph, etc. going through the harvest planning…I think to myself: “Our hard work is worth it”. It is a great feeling for me!  
 

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

Washington wines enjoy an excellent reputation and demand around the US, and around the world. This fact makes me feel very proud of being part of the WA wine industry and community. I know that quality is critical for our wines, and as long as we keep producing the same quality wines, the industry will stay strong and to continue growing. As an industry, I think we are heading in the right direction. We are producing high quality wines by taking advantage of natural factors, and at the same time, we are being responsible with the environment by staying focused on sustainability.  
 
As all other agricultural industries, we are facing a big challenge with the hand labor shortage. We have been able to grow and harvest good crops every year, so far, but the increasing labor shortages is a point to keep attention, at all times. 
 

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

Maybe something I know that others may not know is the importance of irrigation management. For many people, if you have a plant, you must water it often; however, with wine grapes is not just that. An irrigation schedule must be in place to regulate the amount of water that needs to be applied to the vines. What I know is that a person working in a vineyard needs to know not only when to apply water, but most importantly, how much. Plant development and vigor is regulated with irrigation water. 

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