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The Reininger Way

"A glass of wine is like climbing, because it’s all about the journey— summiting is just the cherry on top."

—Chuck Reininger
A Natural Progression

Every grape that grows in this valley tells a story of the massive forces that shaped our land thousands of years ago. Every barrel aging in our cellar is infused with these forces, as well as the spirit of Walla Walla—a spirit that has shaped our families for six generations.

The Reininger story begins with Chuck’s early exposure to the great outdoors, sparking a deep connection to the natural world and a passion for adventuring among the elements of Earth. He loved the journey to the summit, the camaraderie, the thrill of discovery, the underlying connection always being the land itself. After spending years as a mountaineering guide on Mt. Rainer, Chuck developed a unique intuition about the environment that made him thirsty to find a new way to “bring the outside in.”

After deciding a brewery wasn’t the right avenue, Chuck began experimenting with home winemaking and advancing his wine education with courses at UC Davis. He officially caught the “wine bug” when he literally got his feet wet crushing grapes for long-time friends at renowned Waterbrook Winery. Sharing the bounty of nature and the excitement of crush solidified a desire to become a part of the winemaking world, in a place where Chuck recognized amazing potential.

“I wasn’t a student of wine, I fell in love with where the wines come from.”

- Chuck

After following Tracy—now Chuck’s wife—to Walla Walla, they launched their dream of owning a premier winery in a promising AVA. They ran Reininger Winery together for five years, successfully growing the business as team of two before joining forces with Tracy’s brothers and parents, fourth and fifth generation wheat farmers in Washington and Oregon.

The Present Day

Today, Chuck attributes his winemaking philosophy to those early adventures.

A patient palate and a trust in the terroir have ensured that every glass poured is perfectly representative of where it came from. It is this dedication that has made Reininger one of Washington’s top wineries.

People OF REININGER

Chuck Reininger

Founder and Winemaker

A Bellevue, Washington native, Chuck and his wife Tracy Tucker founded Reininger Winery in Walla Walla in 1997. Prior to becoming a winemaker, Chuck worked as a professional mountain guide and climber. Chuck graduated from the University of Puget Sound with a B.A. in Business and Marketing. Chuck oversees winemaking for the wineries’ three brands: REININGER, CPR, and Helix.

Kelly Tucker

Partner and General Manager

A fifth generation farmer, Kelly was raised in Walla Walla, Washington and began working on the family wheat farm at age 12. Kelly went on to earn a Masters in Agricultural Economics from Washington State University. For fifteen years, Kelly worked as General Manager of Hogue Ranches, including seven years as Treasurer of The Hogue Cellars, in Prosser, WA. Kelly and his brother, Jay, joined REININGER in 2003 and co-founded the Helix brand with their sister, Tracy Tucker, and brother-in-law, Chuck Reininger.

Jay Tucker

Partner and Operations Manager

A fifth generation farmer, Jay was raised in Walla Walla, Washington and began working in agriculture at an early age. For eighteen years, Jay operated a 4,000 acre Tucker family wheat farm near Helix, Oregon. Prior to that, he attended the University of Idaho, and received an AA degree from Walla Walla Community College. Jay oversees the Walla Walla and Spokane Tasting Rooms and general operations and joined REININGER in 2003. Jay and his brother, Kelly, joined REININGER in 2003 and co-founded the Helix brand with their sister, Tracy Tucker, and brother-in-law, Chuck Reininger.

Ronnie & Terry Tucker

Partners

With lifetime careers in dry land wheat farming as owners and operators near Pendleton and Helix, Oregon and Clyde, Washington, Terry and Ronnie Tucker have been actively involved in the Washington wine industry since 1989, when they joined with a local group of investors to create Canoe Ridge Vineyards. Terry subsequently served as President of the Canoe Ridge Board. They were also early partners in Forgeron Cellars in Walla Walla. Terry and Ronnie joined REININGER and Helix in 2003. Although they no longer participate in day-to-day operations, their contributions in the Valley's wine industry are far-reaching.

Ann Tucker

Marketing & Sales

Ann began working in the Washington State Wine Industry in 1987 as a marketing associate for The Hogue Cellars. In 1995, she transitioned to the non profit sector in fundraising with a focus on wine auctions. After a few years working in Interior Design, she and her husband Kelly joined REININGER in 2003 and co-founded the Helix brand with the Tuckers and Reiningers. Born and raised in Walla Walla, Ann initially worked in distribution then expanded her focus to marketing, eCommerce and Direct to Consumer sales. Ann graduated from Washington State University with a BA in Fine Arts.

Raul Morfin

Assistant Winemaker

Born in Michoacán, Mexico, Raul started with us before he even liked wine when he was only 19 years old. He drove past Ash Hollow Vineyard, where we were planting vines and pulled over to ask if we needed help. Once harvest hit, Raul bounced back and forth between helping us out at the airport with harvest and our neighbors, Tamarack Cellars, before working for us full-time. In 2002, Raul became our Assistant Winemaker. During his tenure with us, Raul helped found and produce the wines for El Corazon Winery for 14 years.

Dorian Williams

Cellar Master

Born in Ventura, CA, Dorian grew up as a military brat before landing in Montana, where he managed a bakery for two and a half years. He moved to Walla Walla to take care of family, and started working in our tasting room in 2012. With his experience working in yeast, Dorian started to help during harvest in 2013 and caught the wine bug. In 2017, he made the official move back of house to our Production Team as our Cellar Master and has been managing our inoculations the last three harvests.

Abbie Clark

Marketing & Event Manager

An East Coast native, Abbie moved to Walla Walla in 2015 to work for the winery in marketing and events management in our tasting room. Today Abbie oversees marketing for REININGER, Helix and CPR, as well as ecommerce and digital communications including two websites and social media. Abbie graduated from Champlain College with a B.S. in Professional Writing, and previously worked in higher education marketing, as well as Vermont’s wine industry.

Kristen Healy

Wine Club Manager

Raised in Scottsdale, AZ, Kristen began at REININGER in 2018. With a strong background in technology, she plays an important role at the winery by keeping our wine clubs up to date in software and industry advancements, while providing excellent and detailed customer service to our many club members. Prior to working at REININGER, she dabbled in wine at another Walla Walla tasting room after taking a career change from Whitman College’s Marketing Department where she worked for over 4 years. Kristen graduated from Northwestern with a B.A. in Computer Studies and received her JD from Loyola School of Law in Chicago.

Brad Korte

Walla Walla Tasting Room Manager

Born in Sonoma County, CA, Brad began at REININGER in 2020 as our Walla Walla Tasting Room Manager. Prior to this, Brad worked for 7 years in operations and supply chain management for Precept Wines brands, where he managed bottling and canning crews around the clock. Brad graduated from UC San Diego with a degree in Financial Economics. His hobbies in brewing beer, gardening, fermenting just about anything, drinking wine and playing with his dogs!

Steve Bledsoe

Distribution & Spokane Tasting Room Manager

Raised in Spokane, Steve became interested in wine where there were only five wineries in Washington State. Steve moved to Seattle to start a career in wine distribution and worked with wholesalers selling to key accounts in western Washington. Along the way, Steve was recruited by a CA winery to manage sales and distribution for the northwestern US and western Canada for multiple brands. Eventually, Steve made his way back to Spokane through the distributor side of the industry. In 2020, Steve began managing the Spokane Tasting Room Manager and in 2021, assumed the role of Distribution Manager for REININGER and Helix.