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Ste. Michelle Winemaking, Vineyard Chief Doug Gore Announces Retirement

Posted on October 16, 2018

WOODINVILLE, Wash. (October 16, 2018) – Doug Gore, Executive Vice President of Winemaking, Vineyards and Operations for Ste. Michelle Wine Estates is retiring after an acclaimed 36-year career with the wine company.

Gore’s tenure coincided with the dawn of the modern Washington wine industry. On his arrival in 1982, Washington was predominantly a Riesling-focused region. Soon after, world-renowned wines made from Bordeaux, Burgundian and Rhône varieties would join Riesling to capture consumer loyalists and attract prestigious European partnerships.

“When I left Napa in the ‘80s, I never imagined I would have such a diverse and rewarding career with one company for nearly four decades,” Gore said.

“One of my proudest accomplishments is to be among the early winemakers building the Washington wine industry into the high caliber that it is today. After 36 years, it’s time for another generation to explore the vineyard and winery innovations that will keep Washington wines among the world’s best,” Gore said.

A California native, Gore relocated to Washington to join Chateau Ste. Michelle’s winemaking team. He was named winemaker for the fledgling Columbia Crest winery within a year, and his influence later grew to include all vineyards and wineries that Ste. Michelle owns across Washington, Oregon and California.

Throughout his career, Gore worked alongside industry legends including Myron Nightingale, André Tchelistcheff and Dr. Walter Clore, who is considered the father of the Washington wine. In recent years, he worked closely with Renzo Cotarella, Chief Enologist and CEO for Marchesi Antinori, who regularly visits Col Solare and Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars to collaborate at the two wineries owned jointly by Ste. Michelle and the Antinori family.

“Doug has made an indelible imprint on our organization and the Washington wine industry,” said Jim Mortensen, Ste. Michelle’s President & CEO. “He led teams researching the best practices, identifying the next great growing regions and creating highly-rated wines across price categories.”

Wines crafted under Gore’s leadership have been awarded more than 1,400 ratings of 90 points or better by the country’s leading wine publications.

“I worked with Doug for my entire 34-year career at Ste. Michelle, and I am very grateful for his immense contributions to our company and to the Washington wine industry,” said Ted Baseler, former President & CEO of Ste. Michelle. “I must say, however, that I am even more grateful that Doug will be joining me regularly on the golf course very soon.”

Juan Muñoz-Oca; currently Vice President of Winemaking for Ste. Michelle overseeing 14 Hands, BORNE of Fire, Columbia Crest, INTRINSIC, Northstar and Spring Valley Vineyard; has been named Executive Vice President of Winemaking, Vineyards and Operations responsible for all of Ste. Michelle’s facilities; effective January 1, 2019.

“I am incredibly grateful for the 18 years I’ve spent working with Doug,” said Muñoz-Oca. “I’ve had the great fortune to make wine all over the world, but I’ve learned more during my time working with Doug than in any of my previous roles. I’m honored to carry that legacy of discovery and innovation forward.”

Muñoz-Oca will report directly to President & CEO Jim Mortensen.

Bob Bertheau, currently Vice President of Winemaking overseeing Chateau Ste. Michelle and Col Solare, has been promoted to Senior Vice President of Winemaking, effective January 1, 2019. Bertheau will report to Muñoz-Oca.

Gore’s retirement is effective December 31, 2018.

About Ste. Michelle Wine Estates

Ste. Michelle Wine Estates, located outside of Seattle, Washington, has a distinguished history that dates back to 1934. The company pioneered vinifera grape growing in Washington State while wines under the Ste. Michelle label were first introduced in 1967. Today, SMWE owns more than 3,900 vineyard acres across Washington, Oregon and California with key sites certified with the LIVE, Salmon Safe or Napa Green designations. SMWE’s ‘String of Pearls’ wine portfolio represents owned or imported brands, all demonstrating the producers’ unwavering commitment to creating distinctive, high quality wines from authentic estate vineyards. Chateau Ste. Michelle, its cornerstone winery, enjoys winemaking partnerships with some of the world’s most distinguished vintners. Col Solare is an alliance with Tuscany’s Piero Antinori, Eroica Riesling is a partnership with the Mosel’s Ernst Loosen and Tenet is a collaboration with Michel Gassier and Philippe Cambie of France. SMWE’s charitable giving program, which supports some 400 non-profit organizations annually, has provided more than $3 million for scholarships for high-achieving, low-income students at Washington universities. The company also was the principal fundraiser for Washington State University’s viticulture and enology institution, the Ste. Michelle Wine Estates Wine Science Center.

Ste. Michelle’s Washington portfolio includes: Chateau Ste. Michelle, Columbia Crest, 14 Hands, Col Solare, Northstar, Spring Valley Vineyard, MERF, INTRINSIC, Seven Falls and Michelle sparkling wines. In California, the company owns Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars (with Italy’s Antinori family), Conn Creek (Napa Valley) and Patz & Hall (Sonoma). Ste. Michelle also owns Erath Winery, in Dundee, Oregon. The company became the exclusive U.S. importer in 2006 for the acclaimed Marchesi Antinori wine portfolio of Italy and Chile’s Haras wines, for Champagne Nicolas Feuillatte of France in 2009, for New Zealand’s Villa Maria Estate in 2010, for Spain’s Torres in 2014.

Region: USA
Job Function: Winemaking

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