Rob Stuart – Winemaker and General Manager
After making wine for other people for more than twenty years, Rob Stuart and his partners founded R. Stuart & Co. in early 2002.
With a degree in biochemistry from Rensselear Polytechnic Institute in New York, and a short but eye-opening career in the labs at Baylor University in Texas, Rob started his winemaking journey on the bottling line at Hans Kornell in Napa, California. From there he went on to work in the cellar at Valley View Vineyards and then on to Staton Hills in Yakima, Washington where he made wine for ten years.
Rob managed to return to Oregon in 1994 when he became the winemaker at Erath Vineyards, his home away from home until he started his current adventure. Now he makes the wines he loves: Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, and sparkling wine. Life is good.
Maria Stuart – Marketing, Public Relations and Hospitality
Maria Stuart started her wine career in Chicago selling to restaurants. It was there that she discovered the magic between food and wine, and also had the pleasure of befriending the wines of Oregon and their makers. During a glorious visit to the IPNC (International Pinot Noir Celebration, the fabulous wine event which takes place every summer in McMinnville for 800 attendees from around the world) in 1990, she met a talented (and handsome!) winemaker. Returning to Chicago, she hastily packed bags and headed west, young woman! Yes, they married in 1992.
Maria continued to nurture her love for the Oregon wine industry with various positions in marketing, PR and events, including a 4-year stint as Executive Director of that same IPNC — where she and Rob first met, remember? At R. Stuart & Co. Maria is the director of PR, direct marketing, hospitality. Maria is also the author of “The Life and Times of a Pinot Mom” a blog about food, life and the wine business. Find it at www.pinotmom.com.
Patricia Rogers – National Sales and Marketing
Trish (or as her mum calls her ‘Patricia’) Rogers, is our sales diva. Trish first came to this country in 1982 as a diva of a different kind; she was then singing with ‘Terra Nova’, a popular traditional Irish folk group. After five years on the road here, she hung up her guitar — we do get her to take it out once in a while — and returned to managing restaurants, a skill remembered from previous lives in Ireland, Britain and continental Europe.
Trish remembers getting bitten by the Oregon bug when she met Fred Arterberry and tasted his Pinot noir sometime about 1990. She spent twelve years in the Southeast, selling wines in South Carolina and Georgia until eventually, Trish migrated west to become National Sales Manager for Erath Vineyards, where she stayed for four years.
In December of 2001 Trish and Molly (her now 19 year old, carrot-topped side-kick — another diva!) moved home to Annagassan, Ireland where their home is near a quiet strand, built within and around the remnants of a 14th century tower house. Trish crosses the pond each month to stoke R. Stuart & Co. fires all across the U.S.A.
Frank Blair – Champagne Afficianado
Frank Blair came to us from Chicago where he has kindled a passion for Champagne for years (there’s a wonderful story about naval service off the coast of France, it has something to do with lots of bottles of champagne and the following morning’s call from an officer – when you meet Frank, ask him about it).
One day, three or four years ago Frank came out to the Oregon wine country, convinced that we could make world-class sparkling wine from Oregon Pinot noir. He started asking around and all of the winemakers he talked to said “you should talk to Rob Stuart; he’s always had that same notion. . .” So he and Rob launched a small sparkling project.
They have worked together developing the base blend and dreaming of rosy bubbles since 1999, and our first sparkler Rose d’Or was released in 2005. Meanwhile, Frank flies his twin engine out from the East Coast to help bottle and harvest, when he can.