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Willamette Valley Vineyards

Willamette Valley Vineyards
 
March 8, 2021 | Willamette Valley Vineyards

Get to Know the Women Behind Willamette Valley Vineyards

Willamette Valley Vineyards is honored to have 56% of our staff and 63% of our leadership team made up of passionate women dedicated to shaping the Oregon wine industry.

Below are just a few of the incredible women on our team, shaping everything from Wine Club to daily operations in the Tasting Room. 

 

Tayler Herman
Wine Club and Ownership Manager

How long have you been with Willamette? 4 years.

What was your first experience with wine and what made you get into the industry? I grew up in Washington’s Columbia Valley, so wine was always on the dinner table and I was allowed to have small tastes from time to time. Eventually, I became the designated driver for wine tastings for my family until I could finally enjoy the tastings myself. I wanted to get into the wine industry because I have always gravitated towards the food and beverage industry and I love something that brings everyone together so naturally wine became a perfect fit for me.

What is your favorite thing about working for Willamette Valley Vineyards? I am challenged everyday when I come into work. There is never a boring day. I also love having Christine as a mentor and feel so lucky to have someone that believes in my growth and development at the company.

What is a memorable piece of advice you were given while working in the wine industry? It's easy to get caught up in providing the best possible experience to our customer and the business side of things, and it's just as important to remember that wine is something meant to be fun and enjoyable.

 

Julia Rentz
Hospitality Coordinator

How long have you been with Willamette?  3+ years.

What was your first experience with wine and what made you get into the industry? I was a novice wine drinker before I started at Willamette Valley Vineyards, and now my knowledge and love for this industry has aged like fine wine! (pun intended).

What is your favorite thing about working for Willamette? I get to create memorable experiences to help people celebrate the best days of their lives; I can't think of a better way to spend my days.

What is a memorable piece of advice you were given while working in the wine industry?  Don't get too hung up on the details, we are in the business of making people happy! 


 

Lauren Druse
Tasting Room Manager (McMinnville, Tualatin Estate, Maison Bleue)

How long have you been with Willamette? Five years in April!

What was your first experience with wine and what made you get into the industry? I'm Italian, so I think it was peach wine when I visited my extended family in Caporciano, Italy when I was nine. Besides that, most of my experience with wine in my twenties was serving it to customers in bars and restaurants. I ended up moving to Dundee in the heart of Oregon’s wine country in 2016, and was ready for a change after managing restaurants for more than ten years. At the time, my best friend was the Sous Chef at Willamette Valley Vineyards and he convinced me I should make the change and apply. I figured tasting rooms would allow me to continue to connect with regulars, and do all the things I really love doing in the hospitality and service industry. Plus, there is wine! He was right!

What is your favorite thing about working for Willamette? Connecting with customers, meeting new people daily, building relationships with colleagues and customers and being a small part of so many amazing life memories!

What is a memorable piece of advice you were given while working in the wine industry?  Don't be afraid to think out of the box or to try new things. It doesn't matter that you don't have as much experience as some people do. Wine can be taught, and we are all constantly learning as we go. We all come to the business with different experiences and strengths. Play to your strengths. 


 

Rylee Cutchin
Estate Tasting Room Manager

How long have you been with Willamette? About one year.

What was your first experience with wine and what made you get into the industry?  My first experience with wine was from my two older sisters. They would always go wine tasting on the weekends and I grew so envious of not being able to join them. Finally when I turned 21, all I wanted to do for my 21st birthday was to go wine tasting. I actually went to Willamette Valley Vineyards to celebrate. I quickly fell in love with an environment that is surrounded by wine. Little did I know, I would eventually become the Tasting Room Manager.  

What is your favorite thing about working for Willamette/in the wine industry? I love being a part of a team that works hard to continue to grow and develop new ideas, experience and offerings. It's exciting to work on innovative ideas and see them come to life. Willamette is focused on finding ways to continue to be one of the greatest tasting rooms in the valley and it's exhilarating to be a part of. 

What is a memorable piece of advice you were given while working in the wine industry?  "Find a way to a YES." This statement has been said to me numerous times throughout this year and this has really shaped my way of thinking in situations. Willamette always looks to find a “yes” in every circumstance and I think this has really helped the company be successful, especially this last year with all the unknowns and regulations, Willamette continues to make every guideline work. 

 

Crystal Ashley
Winery Ambassador Manager

How long have you been with Willamette? I started May of 2015 — about to finish my 6th year.

What was your first experience with wine and what made you get into the industry?  I have always loved wine and can't remember my actual first experience with it. It has been a part of so many memories in my life. My palate and knowledge are very much like wine, it gets better with age.  

What is your favorite thing about working for Willamette?  My favorite thing is getting to share our beautiful wine and rich history and watch others make lifelong memories. I get to learn something new almost every day and work with really great people. Everyday is rewarding and challenging.  

What is a memorable piece of advice you were given while working in the wine industry?   I have received so much amazing advice and knowledge during my career with Willamette. One thing that has always stuck with me is "don't just listen to others; listen to understand because feedback is a powerful tool."

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Founded in 1983 by Oregon native Jim Bernau with the dream of creating world-class Pinot Noir,
Willamette Valley Vineyards has grown from a bold idea into one of the region’s leading wineries, earning the title “One of America’s Great Pinot Noir Producers” from Wine Enthusiast Magazine

 

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