The Wine Connection - Kate Payne Brown

Is there any sweeter sound than the pop of a cork? Kate Payne-Brown would argue no. As winemaker at the award-winning Stoller Family Estate in Oregon’s Dundee Hills—the first winery in the world to receive a LEED Gold certification for sustainability—sparkling and reserve wines are Kate’s forté. As a successful female winemaker in a male-dominated industry and a mom to two young boys. Kate’s also a passionate advocate for creating a welcoming space in the wine world that allows women to balance careers and family.

Raised by New Yorkers in Salt Lake City, she initially studied to be… an optometrist. While on a motorbike trip with her then-boyfriend, now-husband, a fellow biker told her about a grape consultant he met on the road. This conversation opened her eyes to the possibility of using her science background in the wine industry. She went on to earn a Master’s in oenology amongst the wine greats of South Australia before returning to Oregon in between frequent trips to Burgundy. Kate and her husband, who’s also in the industry, have their own small labels and hope to leave a legacy for their sons—and, just maybe, keep the grapes in the family. 

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