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© 2017 Domaine Ste. Michelle – Paterson, WA

Paula Eakin

Winemaker

“Sparkling wine fascinates me,” says Eakin. “I enjoy the pop of the cork and pouring of the wine into the flute and watching the tiny bubbles ascend in the glass. Bubbles are great anytime, not just holidays and celebrations. More than that, though, I love the entire sparkling winemaking process from grapes to disgorge bottling - the traditional second fermentation in the bottle that is key to quality sparkling wine.”

Eakin has more than 20 years of experience making wines in Washington state as part of Ste. Michelle Wine Estates. She started her winemaking career at Chateau Ste. Michelle’s Canoe Ridge Estate winery as a lab technician in 1994 shortly after college. In 2001, she joined sister winery Columbia Crest as an enologist and was promoted to assistant winemaker in 2004, specializing in white wines.

A Northwest native, Eakin was born in Spokane, Washington, and raised in northern Idaho and Kennewick, Washington. She earned a degree in food and nutrition at the University of Idaho. She believes Eastern Washington is ideally suited to growing premium sparkling wine grapes.

“Eastern Washington’s dry, warm climate and cool night time temperatures produce balanced flavorful grapes with crisp acidity, which is critical for quality sparkling wine,” says Eakin. “Our growing conditions and northerly latitude produce sparkling wines with delicate aromatics and flavors. I enjoy spending time in the vineyards and working with our growers and vineyard managers to find the best fruit possible for our cuvées.”