This is part of a series introducing you to interesting people in the wine industry. For many, the journey into wine is not only intriguing but often quite an adventure. These talented individuals are what make the wine industry what it is today so follow this series to meet this group of passionate people who have dedicated their lives to wine.
Why Wine? An interview with Carrie Wynkoop of Cellar 503
Was there a specific wine, moment or place that unlocked your passion?
Carrie Wynkoop: LaBrasseur Vineyard outside of Medford in Southern Oregon is a special place for me. In many ways, it’s where I found the inspiration for Cellar 503. It was 2014 and we were exploring Southern Oregon wine country. We’d heard about LaBrasseur from another winery, so we headed out to see it — over the river, through the woods, across a one-lane bridge, up a long gravel road (and with no cell reception for miles). After tasting their wine, and getting to know their winemaker Fred – a retired firefighter who planted his own vineyard, taught himself how to make wine and built his own tasting room, one idea stuck with me: “This place is in the middle of nowhere, but everyone needs to know about this wine!”
I realized that there were no Oregon specific wine clubs out there that would send me great wines from small producers and help me explore the best of Oregon. I figured if I was looking for it, others were too and Cellar 503 was born.
What did you study in school and what were you doing before you started in the wine industry?
CW: I studied international affairs at Lewis & Clark College. My husband and I own another business and I was running the day to day operations of that business before I started Cellar 503.
What’s your favorite part of being in the wine industry?
CW: Getting to meet the winemakers and understanding who they are and why they want to make wine. Telling their stories is why I got into this business and is still the best part!
Looking back, was there something in your past that led you to wine?
CW: I sold wine for Cost Plus right out of college. I enjoyed it, but never thought it would be my career. It’s awesome to think that that experience might have set me on this path.