Maria Eileen Czamanske Stuart
November 6, 1964 – October 13, 2021
Born in East Lansing, Michigan on November 11, 1964, to Paul & Barbara Czamanske and the beloved youngest of four children. Maria’s father career took the family from the Midwest and southeast to Europe and back. Mari was a proud graduate of both Kingswood/Cranbrook Schools and Valparaiso University.
Maria’s love of food and hospitality started in childhood – her mother was a wonderful hostess. That interest peaked when she launched her career in Chicago working for Bloomingdales and Jean Claude Restaurant. Her wine life also started in Chicago where she a sales representative for a wine distributor.
It was there that she discovered the magic between food and wine and had the pleasure of befriending the wines of Oregon and their makers.
During her first visit to the International Pinot Noir Celebration (IPNC) in 1990, she was taken with Oregon, the Willamette Valley and local winemaker, Rob Stuart. Shortly thereafter Maria moved to Portland and in time, she and Rob were married.
Eventually they made their home in McMinnville and Maria worked in various marketing and event positions in the industry, including coming full circle as executive director of the IPNC.
In 2001, Rob and Maria founded their own winery, R. Stuart and Company, in what’s now known as McMinnville’s Granary District. It was Maria’s vision to create a winery that produced amazing wines for all occasions in an inclusive environment where growers, staff and customers are all equally honored. Always the entrepreneurs, the Stuarts opened one of the first wine bars in 2007 on historic Third Street in downtown McMinnville.
It’s not an exaggeration to say that Maria championed most local service organizations and causes in McMinnville. She proudly served on the board of the McMinnville Education Foundation (MEF) and participated in countless committees and fundraisers that have made the community a better place for everyone. Whether it was sponsorship, wine donations, creative inspiration, or sweat equity, Maria could always be counted on to lend a hand.
Beyond her devotion to her professional life and community, Maria cherished her family: her loving husband Rob, daughter Charlotte and sons Joe and Ben.
Her family, friends, community deeply mourn the passing of Maria Stuart.