All of the fruit is in the winery, and soon the wine will be settling off to their slumber in the cellar. This moment wouldn’t be possible without our powerhouse team of interns. We asked the Stoller winemaking team to tell us about their interns and how they managed the 2020 vintage.
Melissa Burr | Vice President of Winemaking: “What a vintage! Our intern team was mostly all experiencing their first harvest, and fortunately, they made it a success amongst the challenges. I am so grateful for the positive attitudes and hard work of this team. We couldn’t have made it without all of our interns.”
RESERVE HARVEST TEAM 2020
Kate Payne-Brown | Winemaker: “Harvest is a wonderfully energetic time of year as we never know what challenges Mother Nature will send our way. This year was no exception. Our interns rose to the occasion and demonstrated their willingness to take on any task presented to them—which is no small feat as it was many of their first harvest. We had an incredibly cohesive team who was eager to learn about winemaking and share the wines that inspired them to pursue a vintage. I look forward to seeing what the future holds for this crew and will remember them fondly whenever we open a 2020 wine!”
Evan Rose | Assistant Winemaker: “Our crew this vintage were all coming into their first harvest from very different backgrounds. They all shared one thing in common- their growing passion for the world of wine. Their enthusiasm and general curiosity was a bright spot for me in an otherwise challenging vintage. I appreciate all their hard work and thoughtful questions. I look forward to seeing where their time in the wine industry takes them.”
Chase Abbott | Cellar Lead: “It was great to introduce our interns to their first wine production experience. Our team had a variety of industry knowledge, including sales, enology, and especially the appreciation of a good glass of wine. Throughout the challenges of the 2020 vintage, our team was extraordinarily flexible, taking on whatever task was thrown at them that day and did a great job learning along the way. I hope this harvest has provided some insight into winemaking and strengthened their passion for wine even more.”
ESTATE HARVEST TEAM 2020
Ben Howe | Director of Winemaking Operations: “With every vintage, a winemaker gets to know the new grapes that come into the winery, as well as the interns that come along with them. Both are different every vintage, and a lot of fun to get to know what new personalities are presented to us. Both are also a mixed bag…some are easy to work with and have a lot of experience, others, not quite as much, but still a joy to turn them into something extraordinary. The harvest interns have a big influence on the wine because they are truly the hands in the cellar getting everything accomplished and, in every way, are part of the terroir of the wines made from a given vintage. I think about all the past interns, each one connected to a particular vintage, and almost every memory brings a smile to my face. 2020 seems like it might be an exception with all that happened, but these folks made it a joyful time once again.”
Karl Weichold | Production Winemaker: “Coming from a very different cellar environment, I can’t tell you how refreshing it was to see such eager minds and attitudes in a seasonal staff. The willingness to learn quickly and face the myriad adversities of a challenging vintage was such an inspirational and welcomed change. When I think about difficult vintages past, they often seem to be the best teachers in retrospect. This group of interns approached their work with sincere curiosity, wanting to consume and learn as much as they could about the winemaking process. As such, I believe they’ll all be better winemakers one day because of it.”
Aaron Fox | Cellar Master/Safety Administrator: “As a group, this was almost everyone’s first actual harvest. A lot of them had only very recently considered working a harvest (and what an odd intro to the industry this harvest turned out to be). Everything was new, and we had some big, big eyes in the beginning. But, we had positive attitudes and a willingness to rise to a challenge. This group came together with little to no past experience and handled everything 2020 could throw at them. And 2020 has been a beast. Covid took away many of the fun perks that balance the harvest challenges. In the end, this group came together with a love for hot sauce and a good sense of humor. They are all harvest veterans now.”
From the Interns:
Tell us about yourself.
- “I used to live in a van (willingly) and traveled all over the United States. I look forward to doing that for a longer period of time. Recently, I was studying Winemaking at Chemeketa College and decided it was a good time to do my first harvest. I was fortunate enough to interview with Stoller and be offered an intern position!” – Adam M.
- “I am a local and grew up in Amity, Or. I am studying Wine Hospitality and want a career in the wine industry because I love the people and the atmosphere.” – Hannah
- “I traveled cross county from Maryland! I was excited to see Oregon and learn about winemaking, this is my first harvest.” – Olivia
- “From opening a restaurant with my parents at the age of 16 to working in a distillery, making spirits, my desire to learn is constantly evolving. Meeting a winemaker in Portland led me to wonder what it would be like to do the same! He happened to be friends with the team at Stoller, who quickly found work for me as a harvest intern.” – Adam R.
- ” I had never been to Oregon before the harvest, but I’m loving the West Coast. I’ve spent a few years bartending and selling wine in New York and finally decided that I wanted to try making it. This is my first harvest; I love Willamette Valley Pinot Noir!” – Jake
Why are you excited to work in the Dundee Hills/Stoller?
- “I’ve worked in the Dundee Hills before and love the area. Stoller has lovely people and facilities and seems to be a great company to work for.” – Alex
- “I’m fairly new to Oregon, so I was excited to learn something about winemaking in the Willamette Valley.” – Rachel
- “I love working on the Stoller estate because it’s so beautiful! And I get to learn new things in the cellar every single day, which is the dream for me!” – Ana
- “Stoller has an awesome reputation, and the full-time staff is passionate and extremely helpful. When I’m not busy at the winery, I love that the coast and great hiking are easily accessible.” – Kimberly