Co-owner & Vintner
Sara Gagnon's Port Angeles roots run deep. Her current home sits on a portion of the orchard land homesteaded by her paternal grandparents at the turn of the last century. The acreage has remained in the family ever since -- accessed by Gagnon Road.
A lifelong free spirit, Gagnon grew-up knowing that she wanted to do something challenging, fulfilling and fun with her life - something that made people smile. Her career path took a number of twists and turns from the insurance industry (which Gagnon cheekily recalls as her first and last "real job" with benefits, cubicles, khakis and weight gain!) to ownership of a Port Angeles espresso stand where her entrepreneurial spirit shined.
Crediting her great-grandmother who "always had a crock bubbling away in her basement" with inspiring her current career path, Gagnon began making wine at the "ripe" old age of 20. Her first creation was a blackberry wine made from fruit picked fresh off Gagnon land. This was followed by other fruit wines, and then grape wines.
In 2000, Gagnon accepted an apprenticeship under Dan Caudill, the former owner and winemaker at Olympic Cellars in Port Angeles. Caudill put his 29-year-old apprentice on the fast track, teaching her the ins and outs of running a commercial operation. Six months later, Caudill's health forced him into early retirement and Gagnon became the Olympic Peninsula's youngest head winemaker. She relished this new challenge and was determined to give it her all, supplementing Caudill's tutelage with courses through U.C. Davis' acclaimed Viticulture & Enology Program. Gagnon's first commercial wine, Olympic Cellars' 2001 Dungeness Red, won a gold medal at the Tri-Cities Wine Competition in Pasco.
Then in the summer of 2004, life threw Gagnon a curve. She was involved in a serious small plane crash along with Tammi Hinkle, a friend and fellow kayaker. The two survived, albeit with a new outlook on life.
While putting her life back together, Gagnon determined it was time for her to take the reins and actively pursue her dream of opening a winery where she had complete freedom to create her own style of wines. She approached Hinkle, a professional guide and owner of Adventures Through Kayaking, with the opportunity to partner in the new venture and Hinkle was more than happy to invest. On August 3, 2005 (exactly one year after the accident) the two opened Port Angeles' newest winery, aptly named Harbinger to signify good things to come.
Co-owner and operations/marketing
Originally from Minnesota, Tammi came out to the Olympic Peninsula many summers ago when she worked at the Lake Crescent Lodge during her college break. The alluring Lake Crescent cast its spell on her and Tammi found herself returning to this area year after year to work the busy summer season and enjoy the outdoors.
She found a special place in her heart for kayaking (it could be that she is from the land of 10,000 lakes…or that she's a Pisces…just a theory…). Tammi guided professionally on the rivers, lakes, and open waters for 10 years before deciding to open her own guide service; Adventures Through Kayaking. She is now celebrating her 11th year in business, watching the guide service and specialty retail shop grow with each passing season.
Somewhere along the river of life, the exact time remains a mystery; Tammi discovered the equally fascinating world of wine. Soon kayak and mountain biking adventures were being integrated with winery stops. In 2005, when approached with the opportunity to become a co-owner of a fledgling winery just down the street, she was more than happy to invest in the endeavor.
While running the Kayak shop is a full time job, Tammi still manages to help out on many different levels at Harbinger Winery, from pouring wine and crushing grapes, to marketing the wares.
Almost a Washington native, I moved to Port Angeles when I was 5, and other than a short 3 years in Oklahoma city I have never left. I love the Northwest and all it has to offer, whether its camping, mountain biking, or just being on the beach. I love the outdoors and just being in my back yard.
I have spent all of my adult years in Retail sales of which the last 17 years have been in the beer and wine industry. I love good beer and wine and working as a salesman gave me the chance to sample wines from all over the world. That is where my love of wine started and has continued to grow. There is something about a glass of wine that makes you just slow down and reflect.
If you can't find me at the winery or outside you will find me in my garage working on my other love of fused glass. I can lose hours in my shop working on a piece of glass.
I'll try anything once, maybe twice if it's fun(or painful). Stop by try some wine and lets talk (I don't bite) at least not hard!
Remember... Ascend until your wings catch fire!
Harbinger’s lead artist and designer, Stephanie Mallon came to the Olympic Peninsula in 2001. While working at Olympic Cellars, Stephanie met Sara and the two soon realized that the combination of their passions and skill sets would someday develop into some very cool products.
Stephanie designed both the Harbinger logo and is the creator of Dynamo, the little sprite seen around the winery from time to time. She also created the artwork for several of the Harbinger labels in addition to helping to select the art that is used from outside artists. Stephanie’s other projects include creating the Working Girl series for Olympic Cellars and developing her own line of greeting cards through Watermallon Studios, her design company. In her spare time she is the Assistant Creative Director for a leading dinnerware manufacturer based out of Los Angeles.
I was born in Dallas, TX and lived with my family in the same house for 18 years. My life was different then. I woke up early in the morning to go to band practice, then went to school and after school I drove across Dallas to work at a restaurant. On Weekends if I got off work early I would drive across Dallas to go shopping at the mall. Yes, my life was very different. After high school I went to Texas Tech for 2 years and studied Fashion design until I grew tired of Lubbock, TX. As a child my family would drive our RV up to Port Angeles, WA for vacation during the summer, which is how I heard of the place. So in June of 2006 I sold my car, packed my suitcase and moved. After getting into Evergreen in Olympia, I went there for two years and it changed my life and my perspective. I studied solar power and art and continued pursuing my interest in fashion design as well. After graduating I got this miserable job at an insurance agency, which will remain anonymous, then took some time for myself and explored living in Colorado for about a month. After finding that I could not be away from my man and the Pacific Northwest I moved back and magically landed the job at Harbinger Winery. It was fate. I love wine and wine loves me.
Thus is my life so far in short but I am young and my story continues!
If all things lost meaning, all you'd have is knowledge and health.
My foray into the food and wine business and my love and curiosity, is a direct result of my Mom. She grew our food was always experimenting with canning fruits, veggies and making wine, I can remember the jugs of wine in the basement with balloons on top. Mom's cooking was ..... well let's just say that it almost all was flavored with Ken's steak house salad dressing, voila instant gourmet. When I visit Mom at the house I grew up in there is still a healthy stock of salad dressing bottles in the fridge and in the in basement only now they are Paul Newman's. And the wine is store bought with a cork in it.
Thanks Mom for giving me the desire to look beyond flavor in a bottle and wines that aren't all effervescent and sediment.