Kate Norris is the co-winemaker, co-owner, leader, strategist, marketing expert, operational guru, den mother and all around organizer of Division Winemaking Company, the SE Wine Collective and Oui! Wine Bar + Restaurant. Her detailed understanding of and extensive experience in the wine, food and event planning industries has well prepared her to run all three growing companies.
After establishing Division Winemaking Company in 2010 with Tom Monroe, the pair went on to form the Southeast Wine Collective in 2012 in response to their personal interest in creating a unique, multi-faceted urban winery, coupled with increasing public interest in the urban wine movement. In 2017 Kate launched Oui! Wine Bar + Restaurant at the Collective, a now award-winning restaurant and wine bar nestled within her urban winery.
Under the Division label, Kate, along with her business partner Tom, vinify and produce on average 25 unique bottlings per vintage from 10 different varieties of grapes grown in the Pacific Northwest – with a special focus on advancing the love of Gamay noir and Chenin blanc in the US.
In 2013, Kate ventured into making her first solo wines, which were released under her own label, Gamine. A childhood moniker for Kate, Gamine translate to a mischievous kid in French, the Gamine releases yearly now include Pétillant Grenache Rosé, Syrah, Aligoté and carbonic Grenache noir.
If there were a definition in dictionary for “child of the world,” you would see a picture of Kate. Born in Bahrain to an English father and Malagasy (that’s Madagascar) mother, Kate’s exposure to food and wine is extensive to say the least. She has lived in England, Switzerland, France and the U.S. and traveled the world. She graduated magna cum laude with three majors from Colgate University in upstate New York and has since worked at management levels with event planning firms and wineries across the U.S. After experience working and learning how to make wine in France, Kate moved to Oregon determined to make approachable, interesting and balanced wines that are affordable for all to enjoy.
As she has helped grow Southeast Wine Collective and Oui! into an winning neighborhood establishment, Kate has enjoyed learning about the relationship people have with wine, thoughtfully adapting and selecting the wines made and offered on the extensive wine list to be thought provoking while still accessible and, most importantly, yummy! Creating a space, both physical and cerebral, where people can enjoy and learn as much or as little as they want about wine in a relaxed environment is her ultimate goal. In the process, she and Tom have crafted and cultivated a team that they are proud of and that enables the Collective to run smoothly and with lots of joy.
Since opening, the number of wineries in the Collective has continued to grow, expanding from the initial five to the current ten labels. The Southeast Wine Collective currently vinifies over 20 grape varieties under one roof, making it one of the most diverse production spaces in Oregon. Kate and Tom have provided not only a space for production, but support for the member wineries along the way. Kate likes to see the investment in the group of winemakers producing at the Collective as part of the celebration of community in Oregon wine that she and Tom love, and hope to continue to champion.