Wendy Stuckey’s path to Washington and Chateau Ste. Michelle covered many miles and two continents.
“Wendy is known for her deft ability to make white wines reflective of their origins and true to their variety.”
Born and raised in Australia, Wendy left the Barossa Valley in October 2007 to join Chateau Ste. Michelle as its white winemaker, managing day-to-day operations at the winery’s white wine cellar in Woodinville, located outside of Seattle, Washington.
Prior to joining Chateau Ste. Michelle from “down under,” Wendy was considered one of Australia’s best white winemakers while working with the Fosters Group based at the Wolf Blass Winery for 15 years. She was responsible for some of the company’s iconic white wines, most notably the highly regarded Wolf Blass Gold Label Riesling.
Before joining Wolf Blass, she worked as a winemaker at Seppelt Winery. She entered winemaking in her mid-20s when she decided to follow a long-standing dream to be a winemaker. She progressed from the ground-up, working as a cellar hand and studying at the world-renowned Roseworthy College.
For Chateau Ste. Michelle head winemaker Bob Bertheau, Wendy was not a “new” hire. He originally met Wendy when she was an intern and he was the assistant winemaker at Chalk Hill Winery in Healdsburg, California. “We stayed in touch over the years and I remained a fan of her wines,” explains Bob. “When she attended our Riesling Rendezvous event in June 2007, it led to an unexpected reunion and interesting discussions about Chateau Ste. Michelle and Washington winemaking. We are lucky to have Wendy’s experience, palate and ideas here. In Australia, most of the Rieslings are on the drier side where a winemaker really has to pay attention to the tannin/acid/ fruit balance to make the wines harmonious. Wendy offers new and exacting ideas to keep our wines in total harmony. To have her watching over our white wines on a daily basis, while allowing her own expression and ideas, is very exciting.”
Wendy 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 over her winemaking career. She was also invited to be a judge for many of Australia’s key wine competitions.
“The challenge of producing the optimum blend with components from different vineyards is something I really enjoy about winemaking,” says Wendy. “The key, of course, is quality fruit and attention to detail. It’s a great sense of achievement to see a wine develop and uniquely express the characteristics of the year’s harvest.”
Wendy’s strong interest in Riesling is what initially attracted her to Chateau Ste. Michelle, the leading North American Riesling producer with a 40-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 Wendy. “I wanted to work in another part of the world known for producing outstanding Riesling.