DR. WADE WOLFE
Owner/ Wine Maker
Wade Wolfe received a B.S. degree in Biochemistry in 1971 and a Ph.D. in Plant Genetics in 1976, both from the University of California at Davis. While at Davis he completed course work in viticulture and enology and a Ph. D. thesis on grape genetics. Between 1976 and 1978 he was the Research Viticulturist and Enologist at the University of Arizona for a wine grape feasibility study in the Southwest. In 1978 he joined Chateau Ste. Michelle as Technical Viticulturist and became Director of Vineyard Operations in 1983. In 1985 he left Ste. Michelle to pursue a vineyard consulting business. In 1987 Wade and his wife Becky founded Thurston Wolfe Winery. In 1991 he joined Hogue Cellars as Viticulturist and became General Manager in 1996. In July 2004 he left Hogue Cellars to pursue winemaking full time at Thurston Wolfe Winery. He is a past Director and President of the Washington Association of Wine Grape Growers, past Chair and current member of the Washington Wine Advisory Committee, and past Chair and current board member of Wine Yakima Valley, an association of Yakima Valley wineries and growers. He has published articles about the Washington wine industry in Wines & Vines, American Journal of Viticulture and Enology, Washington State Grape Society Proceedings, Oregon Horticultural Society Proceedings, and in various Washington State University seminar proceedings. In recognition of his contributions to the Washington wine industry, Wade is recipient of the 1993 Alec Bayless Award from the Washington Wine Commission, 2000 Dr. Walter Clore Award from the Washington State Grape Society and 2002 Industry Service Award from the Washington Association of Wine Grape Growers.
Becky Yeaman received double bachelor degrees in Social Work and Psychology in 1976 from Washington State University. Following graduation she worked as a crisis intervention counselor for Planned Parenthood in Yakima. In 1985 she worked as the Tasting Room Manager for Quail Run Vintners in Zillah. Between 1986 and 1990 she was the Sales Director for the Holiday Inn in Yakima and co-manager of Thurston Wolfe Winery. In 1990 she left the Holiday Inn to spend full time
managing Thurston Wolfe Winery and continues in that capacity today at its current location in Prosser. During this time Becky has served as a board member on the Washington Wine Institute and six years as treasurer and vice president for the Yakima Valley Winery Association. She has spent several years on the Yakima Valley Visitors and Convention Bureau Board and has been involved with Prosser Economic Development.
Josh Wolfe ( 2nd Generation)
Josh Wolfe is the son of Wade Wolfe and Becky Yeaman and current Sales Manager at Thurston Wolfe Winery. Josh’s primary responsibility in the company is promoting the brand out in the marketplace and working with distributors to better establish the wine. This includes retail/ restaurant exposure, participation in trade shows, competitions, charitable events and many other types of promotional venues in the public eye. He also works with social media including Facebook and promoting website presence online.
Josh graduated from WSU in 2013 through their Hospitality Business Program with a minor emphasis in Sales Economics. Through his college career he would work summers through the WSU Agricultural Research Facility under Soil Scientist Dr. Joan Davenport. There he spent most of his time assisting with vineyard nutrient experiments and learning important aspects of grape development. Even before going to university Josh was heavily involved with interstices and challenges of both wine production and the wine making progress with a boutique winery. This included working harvest and crush, wine making, hand bottling, and entertaining customers in the tasting room.
Still wanting more knowledge outside of the winery industry, Josh has worked extensively in Event Planning Management and other positions in the hotel industry. Throughout the years between college and his eventual full-time position at Thurston Wolfe he has worked at companies like The Holiday Inn Corporation, Hilton Double Tree, and The Red Lion. Learning to build and strengthen relationships, relating to customer’s needs, negotiation, and attaining results past expectation are all skills brought over from these past jobs to his position at Thurston Wolfe.
The wine industry is one that is exciting and highly artistic. Wade’s wine making is his expression of years of experience, through trial and error, developing his own unique style. Josh’s future in the family business is to help grow, promote, and share his father’s and mother’s dream of great wine.
Chris Wright is our assistant winemaker and general cleaner of things. Chris grew up in Long Island, NY and after High School, got a geology degree from Hobart College in Upstate NY in 1986, Chris went on to work as an environmental and land surveying consultant in the New York City area. During this time Chris began homebrewing beer (somewhere around 1988). Chris moved out west in 1989 to attend a geology graduate program at the University of Idaho in Moscow, Idaho. While attending school
in Moscow, Chris worked for the Idaho Geological Survey doing wilderness mapping in Central Idaho. Chris moved to Richland Washington in 1991 to work as a field geologist at the Hanford Site, the north slope of Alaska, the Aleutian Islands, and many sites in the Pacific Northwest. Moving to Richland was also Chris’s first exposure to Washington Wine and wine tasting in general. This included purchasing wine from Thurston Wolfe in the early 1990’s. Chris worked as a consultant, moved on to running
Geographic Information System development for Benton County in 1995, and went back to working for Hanford in 2000 as a Project Manager. During this time Chris started volunteering at local wineries for crush and bottling work. Chris left Hanford in 2011 and during 2012, spent a lot of time doing pickup winery work locally. Chris went to work for the Washington Department of Natural Resources in Olympia in 2012, and after two years and 197 trips over White Pass quite his job and signed up for the Winemaking program at Walla Walla Community College in 2014. As part of the program. Chris worked for Thurston Wolfe as an intern for the 2015 harvest. Chris Worked the 2016 Harvest for Canvasback Winery in Walla Walla and signed on with Thurston Wolfe in February of 2017.
Chris and his wife Allison live in West Richland. Chris likes to travel, ride his bike, he competes in sailing races in Michigan every summer, and teaches fencing for the Tri Cities Fencing Club in Kennewick.