Time & Direction Wines

Winemaker, aka Director of Awesome – Steve Wells

1. What is your/your family’s story around your winery?
THE HISTORY- What’s the big deal in moving 3000 miles away to pursue your dream? You just have to convince your wife to leave everything on the east coast behind and that moving will be a piece of cake, without a job or place to live. That’s exactly what I did in the Spring of 2011.

I started learning about wine at the first restaurant where I waited tables in New York City. You can imagine the horror of starting a new job in the biggest city in the U.S. and walking in day one to find my coworkers tasting wine. In time, I developed my taste buds and nose and started to enjoy the complexities that wine offered. I eventually made my way into restaurant management and the beverage program, all the time learning more and more about wine. I was encouraged to join the Court of Master Sommeliers and begin my training to becoming a sommelier.

In 2008, I had the extreme honor of being part of the Washington Wine Commission’s Road Trip Washington Wine, a whirlwind tour of Washington wine country with stopovers in all the major viticultural areas of the state. I think the a-ha moment came while tasting Grenache Blanc grapes in the middle of Boushey Vineyards and drinking a glass of McCrea Sirocco Blanc made from that vineyard’s grapes at sunset. I remember thinking that I could get used to this.

Back in New York, I made a point to try as many Washington wines as possible and dedicated entire sections of the wine list to these wines I had fallen in love with.

During a tasting at the Mermaid Oyster Bar with Ron Coleman of Tamarack Cellars, he told me about the Center for Enology and Viticulture at Walla Walla Community College. I decided to apply to the college and take the big leap to move from New York, NY to Walla Walla, WA.

When we arrived in W squared, I had no job, but luckily, I had plenty of contacts within the wine business. After a meeting with an old colleague from New York, I was presented with a sweet offer: Don’t go to school, but we’ll give you a job and teach you how to make wine. When a Master Sommelier gives you that offer, it’s hard not to pass up.

That’s when I started working in the tasting room and cellar at Gramercy Cellars. After studying wine in restaurants and books, I realized that I had no idea what the production side of the wine business entailed. I got to learn the business and production side of a winery and put my customer service skills from restaurants to good use. After two and half years at Gramercy, I decided to enroll in the WWCC winemaking program and began working for an extremely talented winemaker, Aryn Morell, as a production assistant. I was very fortunate to have Aryn allow me to work and go to school at the same time while he shared his massive winemaking knowledge.  The practical experience of making that many wines with an amazing winemaker combined with the academic experience of schooling was exactly what I needed to take my knowledge of winemaking to the next level.

In the spring of 2016, Aryn approached me with an announcement that would bring everything together. He told me that we would be starting a new employee benefit program. This new program allows any employee to start making their own wine at the M&L facility after two years of employment.  What a grand coincidence that I had just had my two-year anniversary! All I had to do now was start lining up fruit sources and barrels and I’d be in business.

2. How long have you been making wine in Washington state?
As a winemaker, since the 2016 vintage.  But I’ve been part of cellar & harvest crews since 2011

3. What is your favorite part of being a part of the Washington state wine community?
The support and sharing of knowledge from everyone in Walla Walla.  We are such a close community that always helps each other out.

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

5. What is your favorite wine and food pairing?
Lamb & Washington Syrah


Owner, Walla Walla Vineyard Management – Jeremy Petty

1. What is your background, how did you come to work at the vineyard?
Growing up in Walla Walla, we were never around wine or vineyards, and not many families I knew drank wine. I worked on row crop farms growing up (Locati farms, FFR cooperative) and a juice processing facility until 2009, then I entered the EV program at WWCC.

2. How long have you been working in this capacity?
In 2009 I planted my first vineyard and managed others since and also started a winery at the same time. Making wine for years has really helped on the vineyard side when talking with winemakers and knowing what they want or are trying to achieve.

3. What is your favorite part of being a part of the Washington state wine community?
Growing up in Walla Walla, i never feel alone in the vineyard environment. At any point in time I could call any other manager in the valley and they are always willing to help me out if there is something i’m unsure about or have questions on and vice versa. Thats what makes this such a great community. We all represent each other to some point..it is all Washington Wine.

4. What do you think the future holds for Washington state wine. Where are we headed or what trends are you seeing?
I think we are set to keep growing in small steps, and the industry will continue to keep higher standards and quality from start to finish. Which is a good thing! Trends….Rhone! Everyone wants Rhone wine including new plantings. I see this being a hot topic for at least the next few years.

5. What is your favorite wine and food pairing?
A big bold Malbec with a big steak!


Vineyard Crew Supervisor – Adolfo Rodriguez

1. What is your background, how did you come to work at the vineyard?
It’s on my culture to dedicate ourselves to work in the field, but in grapevines I found a joy to work on it, the simple and complex things I learn everyday about the plants, so we can inspire to get better plants, better fruit, and better wine.

2. How long have you been working in this capacity?
It has been over 10 years now.

3. What is your favorite part of being a part of the Washington state wine community?
That feeling when I see really high scores on wine I was part of, and knowing that everything started with the hard work of my crew.

4. What do you think the future holds for Washington state wine. Where are we headed or what trends are you seeing?
I’m always amazed on where the grapevines are planted, places I didn’t expect to see anything be planted. It seems as they find new places, there are new experiences at the moment of tasting wine.

5. What fact can you share about your job that wine-drinkers might not know?
Yes, filling dozens of those half ton bins is HARD! work. But a good harvest can also be LOTS of FUN!

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