Jessica Hereth, director of operations at Olympia Provisions, has technically making wine in her Tabor neighborhood basement for 4 years—she just hasn’t been able to legally sell it. Let’s just say her cellar is getting…full. But now, the star sommelier, responsible for giving the Olympia Provisions mini empire its way-above-average wine IQ, is launching her own urban winery, Stick Figurine Wine.
One of Oregon’s brightest young wine thinkers, Hereth (who has appeared in this magazine as a judge for our annual wine issue) earned a coveted nod from Food & Wine magazine in 2018 as one of the top seven sommeliers of the year. While learning the craft, she says she depended on small batches of grapes from friends and industry connections, in addition to tinkering with her small, experimental vineyard, which she grows behind her home with partner and OP cofounder Elias Cairo.
Stick Figurine will use grapes from sustainable fruit operations in Oregon and Washington (making it natural, but not biodynamic), with a particular interest in the grapes of the Columbia River Gorge. According to the OLCC, her own vineyard’s grapes can’t be used, although she’ll still be making wine in her basement—somewhat of a revelation for those who thought winemaking couldn’t be done in a residential neighborhood.
“I want to make super-approachable, fun wines that aren’t to be taken too seriously,” says Hereth. “I want them to be delicious, and I want people to say, ‘This is really good,’ but not stop and be ponderous and debate the merits of one quality over the other.”
Her first release, a skin-contact blend of Gewürztraminer, Chardonnay, and Riesling, will be available in spring 2020. You can expect bottles to go for between $20–30 at all Olympia Provisions locations, OK Omens, and other restaurants and bottle shops around town. Keep up with Hereth’s progress (and buy directly) on her website and Instagram feed.