In addition to their commitment to quality, the winemaking team at Columbia Crest is also dedicated to producing approachable wines that people will enjoy. Our heritage of winemaking excellence is applied to every bottle—we strive to produce wines that are balanced, rich in flavor, and surpass expectations.
For me, winemaking is about the experiences – the challenges that each vintage brings, the opportunity to learn the subtle nuances of each vineyard, and the constant discovery of how best to craft wines that are true to their varietal character while maintaining the uniqueness of the terroir. At Columbia Crest, we take great pride in our ability to use these experiences to craft wines that are an expression of the vintage and the region. ”
Juan Muñoz-Oca, Head Winemaker
As winemaker, Muñoz-Oca is responsible for producing the winery’s portfolio of Reserve, H3, and Grand Estates wines. He joined Columbia Crest in 2003 and was named winemaker in 2011. Prior to 2011, he was dedicated to the winery’s red wine program. It was during this time that the 2005 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon was produced, becoming the first Washington wine to be named ‘Wine of the Year’ by Wine Spectator in 2009.
Raised in Mendoza, Argentina, Muñoz-Oca came under the tutelage of his grandfather, cellar master at Bodegas Toso winery, at a young age. The older man instilled in him a love and respect for wine, as well as for his family’s Spanish culture, that was to become the root of a lifelong passion for winemaking. He picked his first grapes at the age of eight, later took an after-school job in a wine cellar, and spent his vacations helping his grandfather with harvest.