Sara Gagnon: Co-Owner & Winemaker
Sara Gagnon's Port Angeles roots run deep. Her current home sits on a portion of the orchard land homesteaded by her great-grandparents at the turn of the last century. Sara began making wine at the "ripe" old age of 20; her first creation being a blackberry wine made from fruit picked fresh off Gagnon land.
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 one of Washington state's youngest head winemakers.
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 could 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.
Tammi Hinkle: Co-owner & 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 15th 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. Though the Kayak shop is a full time job, Tammi helps on many different levels at Harbinger Winery, from pouring wine and crushing grapes, to marketing the wares.
Kelley Romero: Tasting Room Manager
Kelley Romero was born and raised in Port Angeles. Her family homesteaded here five generations ago and she has stayed close to home to raise her son Colton alongside her husband Cody Romero. As a family they enjoy living in the northwest with all of its natural beauty and spend time outdoors playing baseball, going on hikes and enjoying the water. Having worked in the food and beverage field for most of her life Kelley acquired a passion for wine in her early 20s, falling in love with the mysterious yet expressive nature of a great wine. As Benjamin Franklin once said "Wine makes daily living easier, less hurried, with fewer tensions and more tolerance.” Kelley believes that by tasting, serving and educating people about wine she gets to share this mantra with others. So visit her in the tasting room to see if you can take a little tension and hurry out of your own lives over a glass of wine.
Dave Shillington: Cellar Master/Outside Sales
Almost a Washington native, Dave moved to Port Angeles at the tender age of five, and other than a few short years in Oklahoma city, he rarely sees the need to leave Washington State. Dave loves the Northwest and all it has to offer, whether its camping at the beach, mountain biking, slinging wine barrels or just hanging out in his own backyard.
Dave has spent most of his adult life in retail sales, the last twenty of which have been in the wine and beer industry. This has given him the opportunity to sample wines from all over the world, where his love and knowledge of wine continues to evolve. At Harbinger Winery, Dave has learned what it takes to put a wine into a bottle; from picking the grapes, to how the taste in the glass. You can find Dave in all aspects of the winery, from cleaning tanks and topping barrels, to peddling Harbinger Winery's wares to local shops and restaurants. If you can't find Dave at the winery or at the beach, he's probably in his garage working on his other love; fused glass, where he states he can "lose hours" working on a piece of glass.
Molly Maline: Tasting Room Specialist
Molly's happy to be planting roots on the Olympic Peninsula, finding home just west of the Winery. After time in Alaska and California's wine country, she returned to Washington, where it all began ... Science is what took her to the cellar, studying chemisty in college; her first harvest was with Columbia Crest Winery. Shifting to the glamourous side in the small historic tasting room at San Juan Vineyards, she realized she loved sharing the art of winemaking with others. With some wine touring and one more harvest in Sonoma County, she's back behind the bar here at Harbinger, sharing stories from the grapevine.
Pete Mehl: Tasting Room & Wholesale Special Forces
Pete is an Oregon Native who grew up surrounded by fields of strawberries, rye grass and Oregon Pinot Noir. His early memories of family vacations center on traveling throughout Oregon and California in the family station wagon, visiting state and national parks and stopping at every winery along the way. Destined to work in the wine industry from a young age, his first (drinkable) batch of wine was made from wild elderberries when he was 16. After a 22-year career flying anti-submarine and reconnaissance aircraft for the US Navy, he settled in Port Angeles with his wife Bonnie to be surrounded by gorgeous mountains, water and world class wines. Pete’s passions include backpacking, cooking, woodworking, and enjoying a good glass of wine.
Holly Dubois: Tasting Room Specialist & Accounting
Holly came to Harbinger with a background in procurement, two beautiful daughters, a doting husband and a drive to learn more about wine. While one might mistake Holly as quiet or shy, she carries no such card. She can (and will) tell you the history of Tempranillo, why Barbera has such a lovely bite, or what to pair with fresh, grilled Chinook salmon. Her other loves include crossfit, swinging on a trapeeze, and being a mom (all seem like full-time occupations if you ask me). If Holly was a wine she'd be Malbec because, as she says, "it's delicate like a baseball bat." So remember that if you are thinking of giving her a hard time.
Steph Mallon: Lead Artist & 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 endeavors. 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.