Being a full-service winery and tasting room, there are many jobs that need doing around Cathedral Ridge Winery and most of our team wears more than one hat. To understand the way it all works, our team can be divided into three groups: winemaking, tasting rooms, and operations/administration.
I. Wine Making
Michael Sebastiani of 4th generation Sonoma winemaking notoriety and an alumnus of UC Davis’ winemaking program heads our winemaking efforts. Although still a resident of Sonoma, Michael commutes to Hood River for crucial points in the winemaking process, such as the harvest and the press. Throughout the process, Michael is constantly informed on the various states of the wines and is ready to provide assistance should any feedback be needed from the day-to-day operators. Our Amazing Flying Winemaker is an important piece to the winemaking process.
Owner and Cellar Master Robb Bell handles more of the day-to-day tasks of winemaking. Whether it be conducting a rack and return (the process of siphoning the wine from their lees and returning them to clean barrels) or punching down the caps in the fermentation tanks, Robb gets his hands on virtually every bottle of wine that leaves the door.
Many other tasks are handled by the rest of our competent cellar team, including Francisco Chairez who has been with our team since the winery was known as Flerchinger Vineryards.
II. The Tasting Room
An interview for a tasting room position at Cathedral Ridge Winery is often conducted partially by Robb and sometimes takes around two hours, covering a broad range of topics. In the secret service they call this “vetting” someone, but in reality, it is Robb’s way of seeing if you are really right for the team. Although team size fluctuates throughout the year as traffic fluctuates, our team is always composed of educated and intelligent individuals capable of performing “Renaissance activities” or other tasks essential to the winery. In just the summer of 2013, our team included a philosophy professor, an aeronautics graduate degree candidate, as well as multiple members with sommelier training or certification. Not to mention our tasting room associate Laurel, known by some as the World’s Most Loyal Wine Club Member. After joining the Wine Club several years earlier, Laurel approached Robb saying, “I like your wines and I know your wines. Are you hiring?” To her satisfaction and the winery’s benefit, we were.
Running a winery is like running a small country, except more difficult. Most of the administrative and operating tasks are handled by our General Manager, Julie Skov. Solving customer problems, payroll, advertising and content development, creating tasting room schedules, planning events, and representing the winery at local meetings are just a few of the plates Julie keeps spinning simultaneously. Mary Bishop, Lisa Ashe, and Jane Kosuth also help along the way, shipping orders, conducting tours, and planning weddings and events. Sandra Ison manages the Dundee tasting room for the benefit of our Willamette Valley customers.