These days, it may seem out of place to talk about pursuing one’s dreams. For many, such an endeavor can be risky, or even dangerous. For one Thurston County couple, the pursuit of happiness meant acting on a dream and following a passion: wine.
“We love the Olympia area and wanted a winery near where we call home,” Amy Stottlemyer said. “We looked for a long time and really thought it was a phase, but we never outgrew the idea. Wine is our passion and has been a passion in our relationship since we first met.”
Stottle Winery, owned by Amy and husband Josh Stottlemyer, opened its tasting room doors on April 28, and is one of the newest Olympia wineries.
The winery has been quite the entrepreneurial change for the couple. Prior to opening Stottle Winery, Josh owned a web design company in downtown Olympia. Amy, who helps out as often as possible, still works full-time as a seventh grade teacher.
“My wife and I have been into wine for a long time and we decided to completely change what we were doing and jump into the wine industry,” Josh admitted.
That jump, however, was not made blindly. Josh combined his passion with education. He took it upon himself to learn as much as he could about wine and wine making before entering the business.
Along with personal research, Josh is currently studying at the Northwest Wine Academy at South Seattle Community College—just one of three wine programs in the state. There, he has received a great deal of hands on experience, rather than just theoretical practice. He not only learns the process of making wine, he actually gets to make wine for class. The kinds of classes he takes at the academy include: laboratory analysis, wine production, viticulture, wine chemistry & microbiology and sensory evaluation.
“Wine making was very appealing because I love wine and I have for a long time, and making wine uses a lot of the things I’ve always been interested in,” Josh said. “I studied chemistry for quite a while in college and wine making really is a lot of chemistry.”
In addition to his passion for wine, Josh has a passion for the business side of things as well.
“I love sales and marketing and just running a business. I have an entrepreneurial spirit so it answered all of those things, plus it got me out of being behind a desk all day, every day,” said Josh. “So, now I spend half my day behind a desk and I then I get to go out and interact with people and work with wine.”
The winery is now debuting the first of its wines—tasting and selling seven 2008 vintages: Sangiovese, Barbera, Tempranillo, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Syrah and a blend. They will be releasing their first white wine, a 2008 Viognier, soon, and a Nebbiolo is expected to become available this winter.
All of the grapes for their wines come from some of the oldest and best vineyards in Eastern Washington: Elerding, Sagemoor and Dwelley Vineyards. The grapes are grown, trucked back to the Stottle Winery warehouse, de-stemmed, crushed, fermented, aged, bottled and labeled—all behind the closed doors of the tasting room and by the Stottlemyers themselves.
One thing that Josh and Amy are proud of, besides successfully pursuing a dream, is the atmosphere they provide their customers. Those who are interested can actually see where the wine is made and how a small business goes about putting together each and every bottle of wine. On the other hand, the stylish, upscale tasting room provides a comfortable feel—perfect for socializing, relaxing or even a date!
In addition to Stottle Winery, there are a few other wineries in Thurston County, such as Medicine Creek Winery, Madsen Family Cellars and Northwest Mountain Winery. Stottle Winery is working with the other area wineries to put together a local winery trail map.
“We want to be seen as the new Woodinville,” Amy said. “You don’t have to drive north to taste great wine. We want people from the Olympia area, Lakewood, Puyallup, Gig Harbor and Tacoma to realize there is quality wine right here. Avoid the headache, drive south!”
But don’t be hesitant when it comes to visiting Stottle Winery—they welcome any and all levels of wine expertise: from self-proclaimed wine connoisseurs to novice drinkers, and everything in between.
“We want to educate people about wine and help them enjoy it. I just want to give people good wine,” Josh said with a smile.
Stottle Winery offers two levels of wine tasting: four wines for $5 or all seven wines for $7. Tasting room hours are Wednesdays through Sundays, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., or Mondays and Tuesdays by appointment only. Stop by the tasting room, become a fan on Facebook and check their website for updates on upcoming events!
2641 Willamette Drive NE, Suite C
Lacey, WA 98516