Washington’s founding winery, Chateau Ste. Michelle, recently named Wendy Stuckey as its new white winemaker. Stuckey will report to head winemaker Bob Bertheau and manage day to day operations at Chateau Ste. Michelle’s white wine cellar in Woodinville, Washington outside of Seattle. (Chateau Ste. Michelle also has a winery dedicated to red wines located in Eastern Washington.)
Considered one of Australia’s best white winemakers, Wendy Stuckey was with the Fosters Group based at the Wolf Blass Winery for the past 15 years. She was responsible for some of the company’s iconic white wines, most notably the highly regarded Wolf Blass Gold Label Riesling.
Chateau Ste. Michelle head winemaker Bob Bertheau originally met Stuckey when she was an intern and he was the assistant winemaker at Chalk Hill Winery in Healdsburg, California in 1993.
“We reciprocated the visit in 1995 and have stayed in touch over the years and I have always been a fan of her wines in Australia,” says Bertheau. “When she attended our Riesling Rendezvous event last June, it led to an unexpected reunion and interesting discussions about Chateau Ste. Michelle and Washington winemaking. I couldn’t be happier to have Wendy’s experience, palate and ideas here at Chateau Ste. Michelle. You could say it’s a marriage of new world and newer world.”
Stuckey is known for her deft ability to make white wines reflective of their origins and true to their variety. Her accolades as a winemaker are prestigious and numerous, winning many gold medals and industry honors, including being a finalist for “winemaker of the year” by Australian Gourmet Traveler WINE magazine.
Wendy’s success as a winemaker is born out of her experience and exceptional technique. Before joining Wolf Blass in 1992, she had worked as a winemaker at Seppelt winery, also in the Barossa Valley.
Wendy entered winemaking in her mid-20s and after traveling extensively, she decided to follow a long-standing dream to be a winemaker and progressed from the ground-up, working as a cellar hand and studying at the world renowned Roseworthy College.
Wendy’s strong interest in Riesling is what initially attracted her to Chateau Ste. Michelle, the leading North American Riesling producer with a forty year history of Riesling winemaking.
“Having worked with many different Riesling vineyards in Australia over the past 15 years, I developed a passion for the variety,” says Stuckey. “I wanted to work in another part of the world where fantastic Riesling is being made. I am excited about the chance to make different Riesling styles, which we weren’t able to make in Australia, especially ice wine. I am truly looking forward to broadening my personal and professional experience by learning about and making wines from Washington.”
Stuckey was impressed with Chateau Ste. Michelle and the Seattle area and after attending Riesling Rendezvous in June.
“Chateau Ste. Michelle has a great history and reputation for quality and I am pleased to be a part of that tradition. I know I am going to enjoy working and living in the Seattle area. And my husband, children and I love to snow ski…so that was another incentive to move to the Pacific Northwest!”
This year marks Chateau Ste. Michelle’s 40th year of Washington winemaking. Founded in 1934, Chateau Ste. Michelle pioneered vinifera grape growing in Washington state and has been producing classic European varietal wines under the Chateau Ste. Michelle label since 1967. The winery combines an ongoing dedication to research with a commitment to classic winemaking traditions. The winery owns 3,400 acres of vineyards in the Columbia Valley of eastern Washington, including Canoe Ridge Estate and Cold Creek, one of the state’s oldest and most acclaimed vineyards. As part of the winery’s ongoing pursuit to quality, Chateau Ste. Michelle enjoys winemaking partnerships with two of the world’s most distinguished vintners. Col Solare is an alliance with Tuscany’s Piero Antinori and Eroica Riesling is a partnership with the Mosel’s Ernst Loosen.
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