Seattle Magazine's Eighth Annual Washington Wine Awards
Winemaker of the Year
Charlie Hoppes of Fidelitas
Charlie Hoppes is everywhere. His Fidelitas Winery is more than 10 years old, and he’s known as a consulting winemaker for many Washington wineries. A flight test engineer at Boeing, Hoppes quit that career in his late 20s to do something more creative with his life. He attended the University of California, Davis, viticulture and enology program, and then worked as head red winemaker at Chateau Ste. Michelle from 1990 to 1999. Since 2000, he’s consulted for and helped start up numerous wineries, including Three Rivers in Walla Walla, Gamache in Prosser and Goose Ridge in Richland. He finally struck out on his own with Fidelitas on Red Mountain in 2002. Although he’d been a fan of Red Mountain since his first visit (on the day his daughter was born in 1989), he didn’t work with the fruit until 2005. He now has his own vineyard on Red Mountain, where he has planted Bordeaux varieties on about 3 acres, with 10 more in the works for 2014. In the meantime, he has access to some of the best fruit in the state, from some of his favorite Red Mountain vineyards—Ciel du Cheval and Red Mountain vineyards—and is creating red wines of distinction, such as his nuanced 100 percent Cabernet Sauvignon from Ciel du Cheval, that show his experience and commitment to excellence.