Olympic Cellars Winery has gone through many changes over the years. We’ve changed owners, location and winemakers. Through it all we’ve maintained a deep love and respect for our heritage.
The winery was founded in the late 1970s by Gene Neuharth. At that time there was no wine.com where you could order a new tank and have it shipped within two days. He had to build his equipment. To this day we still use the 375 gallon stainless steel fermentation tanks that he built.
Every fall when we pull them out of storage for cleaning just prior to harvest, we are reminded of our history and feel the connection to our past. Neuharth made Dungeness Red and White from the Lemberger and Riesling grapes. These are two of the first varieties grown in eastern Washington. Since our first year, we have been making these two wines. They are still some of our biggest sellers.
The winemaking duties have been passed down over the years, while ownership has changed hands. Dan Caudil made wine with Gene Neuharth in the first barn. Dan moved the winery into the barn at our current location in 1992 which is also when the name changed from Neuharth to Olympic Cellars.
Then Kathy and Ralph Charlton took ownership in the late 1990’s. Kathy started the Working Girl line of wines, and hired winemakers from Washington and France. One of her greatest accomplishments was her 2009 Cabernet Franc that won Best Red in Show at the Denver International Wine Festival in 2013.
Our current winemaker Greg Vogtritter came to us from Kennewick, Washington through a somewhat circuitous route. He became interested in winemaking while working as a fine art photographer creating a calendar of winemakers.
The artistry of winemaking appealed to him. So, he studied enology and viticulture at Walla Walla College, and gained experience working at the Winemakers’ Loft and Sun River Vintners.
We were working with a consulting winemaker but really needed someone in house. Greg was looking to move out to the Olympic Peninsula and a mutual friend put us in touch with each other. He has now been with us since the harvest of 2013.
Greg has added some really great wines to our repertoire. He created a Port-style wine we’re calling Sailing Moon. He also created a blend we called Neuharth’s Legacy. When Maria Neuharth, Gene’s wife visited and saw that we were honoring the Neuharth Legacy through the wine, her eyes glistened with approval.
In 2014, the original Working Girl, Kathy Charlton retired and passed the torch to Operations Manager, Lisa Martin. She took ownership with husband Tom along with her Aunt and Uncle, Patricia and Steve Green, and a dear family friend, David Ikeda. We completed the ownership transfer and have been working hard to carry on the traditions begun by Gene and Kathy.
Monday, Nov 23, 2020 at 7:00pm Eastern Time
Tuesday, Nov 24, 2020 at 10:00am Eastern Time
Tuesday, Nov 24, 2020 at 12:00pm Eastern Time
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