Our first ever Washington winemaker
- Katy's a veteran winemaker with a proven track record - she made wine at some of the biggest named Washington wineries like Covey Run.
- But the big production wine world wore her down and she was hanging up her winemaking hat until you came along. Now with Angel-funding, she's back at it and making wines she loves to drink.
- Katy's the first American winemaker funded outside of California and she's making amazing Washington wines that really showcase a unique style you can't capture in California.
Map of the Vineyard
Katy Michaud's Story
"I came down from the mountains in 1999, and got a job as a cellar worker in Santa Cruz at Bonny Doon Vineyards . After getting a Winemaking Certificate at UC Davis, I worked a harvest in Australia’s Margaret River region, and I was hooked. After a stint back in Santa Cruz as an assistant enologist at David Bruce Winery, I headed north to Washington. At Canoe Ridge Vineyard in Walla Walla, I became an assistant winemaker, and around then I also got married to a fellow winemaker, and began our famly. We all went back down under for a season of conducting cold fermentations at Kim Crawford in New Zealand.
In the summer of 2007 Covey Run asked me to be its winemaker. At the time Covey was the second-largest Washington winery led by a woman. There’s a certain amount of satisfaction in planting a “Girl!” flag in the once male-dominated winemaking landscape.
Then in 2011 I took a call from Anthony Von Mandl (Canadian wine baron and owner of Mike's Hard Lemonade) to set up a winery and crush just over the border in Canada's hottest spot (literally and figuratively)– the lower Okanogan Valley. While working with no constraints and creating a brand and style from the ground up was heady stuff, moving farther north was too hard for our family, so after 9 months of commuting we decided to stay in WA. Since then, I have kept myself busy with three wine projects, all of which started to come into fruition in late 2015.
I love each little decision along the way as grapes become wine. At the end of the process — the moment a wine goes to bottle — the life cycle is finished. The winemaker can continue to taste a bottled wine, but the control you once had over it is gone. There’s no modification, blending, pleading you can do to change the outcome anymore, and that’s both scary and beautiful. The wine is what it is. It is published.
I make loud, floral whites with lots of backbone and a thread — maybe a heavy-handed thread — of acidity that works for the nose and body. Balance, fruit character and some lightness is important. Nose is critical. I tend to listen to the wine and follow its lead rather than strong-arm it in one direction or another.
Blending whites presents a clear path with few options. Blending reds is muddier, more subjective. Whites show me the way, and the varietals that speak loudest are Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Gewürztraminer and Muscat. For reds, I prefer less extraction and less brawn. More elegance than brute. I like lighter styles of red and Petite Sirah. Cooler climate reds like Syrah and Malbec are great. And while I don’t get to work with it as much as I’d like, I especially love Pinot Noir."
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