The Craftsman Philosophy
The Craftsman name is inspired by our winemaker, Greg Shelman. Greg became intrigued with wine after taking a tour of the Napa wine country in 1966. Years after earning a Pharmacy degree from Washington State University, Greg pursued a passion for crafting wood into Stickley-inspired fine furniture here in Spokane. However, winemaking continued to intrigue him. In 2003 he returned to Washington State University for a second degree and became the first graduate in WSU’s burgeoning Viticulture and Enology program. Winemaking allowed Greg to leverage his strong science background into an endeavor where his craftsman-like attention to detail could flourish. He interned at Hogue Winery in Prosser and then was the assistant winemaker at Arbor Crest Wine Cellars for several years. In 2013, he started Craftsman Cellars.
Greg’s ambition is to produce hand-crafted wine in the old-world style. All wine-making operations are carried out by hand with the power of gravity rather than electrical pumps. Although time consuming, this gentle method is less harsh and introduces less oxygen to the wine. In addition, Greg uses all new French oak barrels for each vintage to ensure a truly premium wine.
The Craftsman name reflects Greg’s belief that winemaking is more of a craft than an art. The winemaker is the craftsman, who, through unwavering attention to detail, shepherds the wine through the complicated process from a vine in a field to a bottle on your table. The craftsman carefully selects and gently destems the grapes, then introduces yeast, which has the biochemical ability to change the natural sugar to ethanol. Armed with his background in science, our craftsman closely monitors this process to ensure a truly premium wine. Winemaking is not simple--there are hundreds of additional variables to consider--but Greg’s passion for winemaking and his craftsman-like attention to detail come together to meticulously guide the wine to its fullest potential.