Alton is a small winery in Walla Walla, WA started by Joe and Ashley Woodworth. When curating the team for Alton, there were two important criteria. First, they had to be someone you’d enjoy having a glass of wine and hanging out with. Second, they had to have as much passion as we do for hosting and entertaining. Done and done. We can’t wait for you to meet them.
Farm kid gone winemaker, yes, for real. But not before a 17 year retail career (and a timely trip to Argentina) made him realize there was more life out there. After trading his suits and ties for dirty jeans and UW t-shirts he’s been busy the last several years completing the Enology & Viticulture program at the Walla Walla Community College and building Alton from the ground up, literally – during Covid. During school Joe worked in the cellar and learned all things winemaking from one of the best, Griffin. If we gave Joe a C-Suite title it would be COO, and Co-Winemaker, but in truth he does it all around here. From spreadsheet magic over beers at Quirk to figuring out irrigation on the property or fishing a badger out of the firepond, he’s learned, on the fly, all the things they don’t teach you in winemaking school in short order since we opened 2 years ago. His enthusiasm for small town life and working for yourself are contagious so if you’re thinking of pitching it all and moving here, don’t have a beer with him. When he’s not making wine, out in the vineyards, or hosting tastings, you can catch him smoking meat on his Big Green Egg, draining birdie putts on the golf course, or hitting the ski slopes with Ashley.
Spending the last 12+ years at Nordstrom has instilled two things in Ashley, a passion for customer service and experience and a love of curating things people love – whether it was during her years as a dress buyer or latest stint in the tech space focused on styling and outfitting, she thrives on pulling it all together, just so. When this project started she told Joe she wanted to eventually be the VP of Chardonnay, wish granted. Once she’s here full time, we’ll add CEO to that business card, too. Her love of white wine (especially Chard) has influenced that side of our winemaking program from the jump. Her expertise in creating the right vibe, whether it’s our customer facing brand image, photography or music, continues to be her “fun job”. When she’s not working, look for her on the golf course with Joe, planning the next perfect trip, or spending time with her fur child, Harrison. If you asked her what is the best part about life in Walla Walla she’d say having more time for all the things she loves and breakfast at Bacon & Eggs.
Meet employee #1. Growing up in Willamette Valley and being in a family that also loved wine sparked her interest and eventual path to Walla Walla, where her career is just getting started. During her time at the Walla Walla Community College Enology & Viticulture Program Eva worked harvests in Kelowna and Oregon before moving back to Walla Walla to join Alton. She is now our Assistant Winemaker, along with doing much of the beautification and gardening on site at the tasting room. Whether it’s getting outside to hike and mountain bike, playing music with her bandmates, or baking something incredible, Eva has a natural curiosity to match her many talents and we’re lucky to have as part of our team.
From the first month we moved to WW Griff has been a part of our winemaking journey, and a friend, more importantly. Joe worked under him during the Enology & Viticulture program where he taught us the ropes in the cellar and helped us learn how to bring the Alton house style to life in the bottle. Griffin brings years of experience from harvests in Australia, a stint at Ramey in Napa and a few wineries around the valley – along with mad forklifting skills and the party vibes, at all times. His winemaking intuition and get-it-done attitude in a startup environment lend a new energy to our growing production and growing team. Outside of work Griff is likely either on the golf course taking people’s money, cooking up something delicious in his wood fired oven with a house full of friends, crushing a woodworking project (a few are around the tasting room) or hanging with his wife Sara, daughter Ruby and their new pup Willie. We’re so excited that he took a chance on working with us and look forward to where we all go together, other than the Stone Hut for big dogs, that’s a given.
Like many people, Covid sent Jesse’s original plan post-college out the window. After graduating with an Environmental Studies degree she was supposed to be on a research vessel in Antarctica the summer of 2020. Instead she said “ok, fine” to her long time friend and came to Walla Walla for the summer. In two months time she fell in love with the town and industry largely because of the way wine naturally brings people together to share stories and connect over a bottle. Jesse joined us mid summer 2021 and this year comes on full time as our Director of Hospitality. She has already made such a positive impact on the team (as many of you have told us!) and we are thrilled to have someone who so naturally connects with people leading all things guest experience. Outside of work you’ll find Jesse, you guessed it, outside. Hiking, camping, chasing a great cup of coffee somewhere she hasn’t discovered yet. If the ocean were closer, Walla Walla would be perfect for her but we’re hoping just visiting family on the Oregon Coast will keep her satiated and with us for a long time. Ps. Thanks for keeping Joe organized.