Get to Know Our Winemakers

share this article:

Get to know our new winemaking team: Alex Stewart, Jesse Schmidt, and Hal Iverson.

This team spent over 10 years working together at Quilceda Creek Winery, where they crafted some of the most highly-rated Cabernet Sauvignon and Bordeaux-style blends in Washington State history. Alex, Jesse, and Hal share a strong frienship that is unique for any winemaking team and are thrilled to continue working together at Matthews Winery.

A native of Snohomish, WA, Alex earned a degree in enology in 2008 from Cal State Fresno. His studies brought him to Burgundy, Tuscany, and Ecole d’Ingénieurs de Changins in Switzerland to further expand his knowledge of viticulture and enology.

Alex spent nearly 17 years at Quilceda Creek, working his way up from harvest intern to Head Winemaker. He takes a minimalistic approach in the cellar, working as gently as possible with the fruit.

Alex believes the best way to stay on the cutting edge of wine innovation is to seek out and taste the top wines of the world, dissecting each one to figure out how they were made and to get ideas of new winemaking tactics to try.

When he's not making wine, Alex loves spending time with his wife and high school sweetheart, Kate, and their three kids, Charles, Thomas, and Eleanor. His other interests include rock climbing, mountaineering, traveling, gardening, enjoying live music, and reading a good book.

Jesse spent 14 years at Quilceda Creek before joining Matthews Winery. He worked his first harvest at Quilceda Creek in 2007, was hired full-time in 2009 as a cellar hand, and was promoted to assistant winemaker in 2014.

An avid sports fan, Jesse is rarely spotted without his signature Mariners cap. He played baseball at Skagit Valley College before sustaining a serious injury, and he has a passion for volunteering in youth athletic development.

Jesse is a Washington State native and lives in Kirkland with his wife Darya. In his free time, Jesse enjoys performing music, coaching baseball, traveling, and working on small wine projects.

Prior to joining Matthews, Hal was assistant winemaker at Quilceda Creek from 2017 to 2021, with his first harvest there in 2010.

Hal has a background in education and sustainable agriculture, having worked as a teacher for Tacoma Public Schools and an owner/farmer at an organic farm before discovering his passion for winemaking. As Hal explains it, enology unites his love for science, art, agriculture, and all things delicious.

Hal is native of Western Washington and a proud WSU Cougar. He lives in Snohomish where he, his wife Siri and their son Ove recently welcomed a new baby, Kjell.

We are thrilled to unite this team's winemaking talent with our passion for sustainability and can’t wait to share the wines with our Matthews community.

Cheers,
The Otis Family