Bob Betz, MW
Bob Betz, MW
Bob is our consulting winemaker, but he is much more than that. He is our founder, patriarch and guiding light. His pursuit of winemaking began in the early 1970's when he and Cathy criss-crossed European vineyards to better understand the why and how of crafting fine wine. His philosophy is pretty simple: focus on what the vineyards have provided. Start with the highest quality fruit you can, treat it vigorously when necessary, gently most of the time, and stay out of its way but watch it closely. Allow the wines to develop slowly, and make sure they provide exceptional pleasure.
Bob holds the degree of Master of Wine (MW), a designation awarded by the Institute of Masters of Wine in London. With a pass rate of about 12% it's a grueling process that's well worth the effort. The Institute of Masters of Wine promotes excellence and achievement in the wine industry. Candidates for the MW are required to pass the most rigorous testing in the wine industry which includes written theory and tasting exams. A graduate thesis on a specific winemaking topic must also be completed: Bob's focus was on the interaction of wine and barrels during the maturation process. In completing the exams Bob was given two additional awards: the Villa Maria Award, for the highest scores on the viticultural exam, and the Robert Mondavi Award, for the highest overall scores in all theory exams.
Steve and Bridgit Griessel
As the managing owners, Steve and Bridgit are thrilled to be part of the next chapter of Betz Family Winery. They live at the winery and have 3 kids.
They are dedicated to ensuring that the Company is true to its heritage, culture, wine making principles and patient growth, teaming with Bob who continues as the “patriarch” and winemaker.
In 2002 Steve and Bridgit came to the US from South Africa, a country with a centuries-old winemaking heritage.
Their combined passion for wine led them to search the US west coast for a winery to call their own. They were exposed to the character and quality of Washington wine, and the rest is history.
Steve’s love for wine started at a young age while touring South African vineyards. He eventually became a student of the world of wines and then an avid collector. His decades of experience with the diverse wine regions of the world further enhanced his appreciation of Washington wines and his fondness for the wines of Betz Family. He started his first business when he was 25 and has been the co-founder and CEO of many businesses, both private and public, in South Africa and the US. He holds a Bachelors degree in Commerce, a Post Graduate degree in Marketing and a Masters degree in Building Science. Over four years ending in September 2014 he completed the Certifcate Program of Enology and additionally the Certificate Program of Viticulture at Washington State University.
Bridgit shares Steve’s passion for wine, as well as his business acumen. She grew up in Johannesburg South Africa where her fervor for wine started early with her father and Croatian grandfather making wine and brandy in their garage while she was growing up. She started her first business at 19! Her internet services business soon had offices in Palo Alto, New York, Sydney and London, and her business travels further enhanced her knowledge and appreciation of the world’s great wine regions.
Today Bridgit also owns a high end tour company for trips to Southern Africa, but spends the vast majority of her time engaged at Betz Family. She’s a computer whiz and has greatly enhanced Betz Family Winery’s website and e-commerce platform to deliver a better experience to our valued customers.
For Louis, discovering wine was a life changing event. “A good friend was determined to get me interested in wine. He put together a tasting of classic French wines: Bordeaux, Burgundy, Chateauneuf-du-Pape, and a couple bottles of California Cabernet for contrast. This one tasting did it for me – the switch was flipped, and wine has been my passion ever since.”
What began as regular trips to the library for wine books, and cruising the shelves of wine shops, soon became the focus of a new career. Louis enrolled in the Enology and Viticulture program at South Seattle Community College, and shortly after enrolling, took a sales position for the eastside wine merchant, Fine Wines. For several years, Louis divided his time between school, the wine shop, and industry tastings. “I learned the fundamentals of winemaking, and wine tasting at the same time. I place great value in both, and rely on them equally in the cellar.”
In order to complete his degree, Louis worked an internship with Betz Family in 2010. “This experience shaped my view of winemaking in a very positive way. It set the bar in terms of attention to detail, organization, and most of all, the value of capturing data, and learning from it.”
Early in 2011 Louis went to work for DeLille Cellars, which proved to be an invaluable opportunity. During his time with DeLille, Louis focused on improvements in the lab, cellar, and quality control, eventually earning the title of Enologist. “I worked 3 harvests, bottled 4 vintages, moved into a new facility, and our team doubled production. I learned a great deal about the logistics of winemaking, in a very short period of time.”
Taking the time to taste great wine is a priority for Louis. While he has spent considerable time studying wines from around the globe, the classic regions of France enjoy most of his attention. This has led to him hosting a monthly tasting group focusing on the best of Burgundy, Bordeaux, and the Rhone. Louis can regularly be found hunting for old, rare, and hard to find bottles.
”My favorite part of working in the wine industry is that I can always find inspiration and motivation in my work. There is always more to learn in the cellar and the lab, and there are always new wines to taste.”
”Returning to Betz Family Winery as the Assistant Winemaker is an honor. Although I finished my internship with Betz in 2010, and went to work for DeLille, I'm thrilled to get the chance to be part of the Betz team.”
In June, 2016 Louis was promoted to Winemaker. When he’s not at the winery, Louis spends most of his time with his beautiful wife, Lauren. They share a passion for travel, food, wine, and supporting each other in all they do. “True excellence is a constant and endless journey, it is not a destination.”
-Max Schubert, Penfolds Winery
Tim has had a passion for wine from a young age. While studying for his Bachelors in Science degree at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, he began working at a steakhouse, was bitten by the wine bug and ended up managing the wine list. After graduating he plunged deeper by working in restaurants in Montana, where he began doing buying trips to Washington.
Tim became a proselytizer of Washington wine, later working at restaurants in California and Washington, before landing at the Grand Award –Winning restaurant, Wild Ginger.
Already a Certified Sommelier, Tim decided to pursue his wine making degree and completed the Associates in Wine Technology program at South Seattle Community College.
Tim was very familiar with Betz Family from his work as a Sommelier and when the time came to do a harvest internship, he came knocking at the door. Betz Family was the only winery he applied at and he was immediatly appointed.
Tim is now our Director of Sales and brings a passion for wine, relationships and good jokes; as well as hands on winemaking skills.
Customer Service and Fulfillment Management
Taylor began her love affair with wine at a young age, when her dad used to let her try sips of his favorite wines with dinner. After realizing that she had a taste for it, he started introducing her to different varieties and styles to see if she could pick out the subtle differences.
Years later in 2010, while pursuing a degree in Hospitality Business Management at WSU, she was given the rare oppportunity to learn about the regional food and wines of Italy while studying abroad in Florence. Naturally, her passion for wine was rediscovered.
After graduating, while working in restaurants, she moved to Seattle with one mission: to learn as much as possible about wine! This lead her to become a Certified Sommelier through the Court of Master Sommeliers in Spring of 2017.
Shortly after recieving her certificaiton, she became one of our two harvest interns for the 2017 vintage. As an intern she worked in the cellar with the production team, under the careful direction of winemaker, Louis Skinner. Upon completion of her internship, she was asked to stay on full time, swtiching gears from production and utilizing her hospitality background, wine knowledge and cellar experience to assist in various aspects of the winery operations.
Although she spends most of her time in the office or hosting winery tours these days, you can still occasionally find her happily climbing barrels, operating the forklift, and making vineyard trips with the rest of our production crew!
Ashley has always had a love for the outdoors and for growing plants. Discovering a passion for chemistry while in college, she strived to meld her two passions into one career.
While volunteering at a winery with a friend one summer, she witnessed all the happenings of the laboratory and what’s involved in processing fruit from the vineyard to barrel. She was hooked; line and sinker. She entered the Enology and Viticulture Program at Walla Walla Community College that next fall, graduating in 2011.
The following 5 years were spent traveling. She worked harvest in several states; from Walla Walla valley down to Napa Valley, even one season in Maine.
When Betz Family Winery offered her an internship for the 2016 harvest, she pounced on the unique opportunity. Once Ashley discovered the wealth of skill and knowledge that the Betz team had to offer, she planted roots and never left.
She loves drinking Riesling and Merlot when not working the lab or on the production floor.
Jonathan was born and raised in Mexico and moved to Washington State in 2013.
He was first introduced to the wine industry in 2014 while working at the Space Needle. His friend Dennis would take him to volunteer at different wineries in the Woodinville area including Betz Family Winery. From there, his love for wine only grew.
He spent most of his days off volunteering at wineries and increasing his knowledge of wine by earning his level one with the Court of Master Sommeliers.
All of his hard work paid off in 2016 when he was offered a job at Betz as an intern for the 2017 harvest. Jonathan brought his passion for wine with him to Betz and what was going to be a seasonal job ended up turning into a full-time position.
Jonathan loves being a part of the team, and is looking forward to being involved in many future harvests with us.
When Jonathan is not at the winery he enjoys attending blind tastings and studying for his level two with the Court of Master Sommeliers.