The Winemakers

Kelly Hightower

Kelly HightowerKelly's affair with wine began with a book and a glass of Cabernet. Studying at the University of California-Berkeley, she became exposed to the prolific growing regions of the Napa and Sonoma. Inevitably, she developed an interest in wine (in both consumption & production) which led to her discovery of 'Plain Talk about Fine Wine' by Justin Meyer of Silver Oak Winery. She was immediately enthralled and being a poor, starving enology neophyte, she saved up all of her nickels and dimes to buy a bottle of Silver Oak Cabernet Sauvignon. After her first sip, she became immediately obsessed with fine wine. Kelly subsequently spent every waking moment absorbing any textbook, pamphlet, pictorials she could find in regards to winemaking and its respective industry, and enrolled herself at Santa Rosa Community College to study Enology & Viticulture. Kelly knew she had found her passion and her vocation, but she wanted to move back to her home state of Washington where the wine industry was burgeoning. Thinking it would be fun to get in on the ground level of a winery, she began working in the accounting dept. for Columbia Winery in 1994. She has since nearly worn all hats in winery operations and management in preparation for the challenge of starting her own wine business.

Tim Hightower

Tim HightowerTim's curiosity in the wine industry commenced with a bottle of Chateau Lafite bestowed upon him as a high school graduation gift. It was to be opened upon his graduation from the University of Washington. His interest broadened during two semesters spent abroad in Paris and studying at University of Puget Sound's Law School. His fascination coalesced at a 'meeting of the minds' of the Washington Wine industry. Tim was practicing alcoholic beverage law at the time, and was attending the meeting as a consultant to the Washington Wine Institute. He decided that although the meeting was noteworthy, he much preferred the perspective of the winery owner than that of an attorney. He convinced Associated Vintners (at that time owners of Columbia Winery) that they needed in-house counsel. In addition to Tim's talents with contracts, it was discovered that he had a remarkable palate. Associated Vintners chose him to blend the wine for a product that eventually grew to be their largest and most successful brand.

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