Winemaking trio that helped craft some of state’s most decorated Cabernet Sauvignon wines will lead winemaking initiatives for one of Washington’s oldest, most recognized brands

WOODINVILLE, Wash. (July 7, 2021) – Matthews Winery, one of Washington State’s oldest and most recognized wine brands, today announced that it has hired the former winemaking team from Quilceda Creek Winery to lead its winemaking initiatives into the future.

Alex Stewart, Hal Iverson and Jesse Schmidt, formerly of Quilceda Creek, are bringing their talents to Matthews Winery, said Bryan Otis, proprietor of Matthews.

“While at Quilceda Creek, Alex, Jesse, and Hal crafted some of the most highly rated Cabernet Sauvignon and Bordeaux-style blends in Washington State history,” Otis said. “Their reverence for the vineyards and sustainable approach to the winemaking process align perfectly with our mission here at Matthews.

“Over the past 10 years, we’ve dramatically upgraded every aspect of our winemaking, and are fortunate to work with some of Washington’s finest vineyard sites,” he said. “While we’ve always prided ourselves on our commitment to winemaking excellence, Alex, Jesse and Hal will take us to a whole new level.”

Stewart, Iverson and Schmidt helped craft some of the most acclaimed wines in Washington State history and played an instrumental role in Quilceda Creek earning international acclaim for multiple, 100-point-rated Cabernet Sauvignons. Quilceda Creek was the first domestic winery outside of California to receive a 100-point score from Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate, and has received 100-point scores from Parker for its Cabernet Sauvignon in seven vintages.

“We all feel that this is an exciting opportunity for us,” Stewart said. “Not only is it an honor to be entrusted with such a celebrated brand as Matthews, but we are eager to work with some of the most diverse vineyard sites in Washington State.”

“We’re excited to be a part of such a visionary winery as Matthews,” Iverson said. “While Quilceda has a storied history and makes some of the best wine in the state, I believe that a brand like Matthews will have a tremendous influence on the future of Washington wine.  The Otis family has an admirable passion for creativity, quality, and intentionality that aligns incredibly well with this winemaking team.”

“The potential for Matthews is limitless, thanks to the direction and leadership provided by the Otis family,” Schmidt said. “I am thrilled to get the opportunity to join their team and work with some of the most historic vineyards that Washington has to offer.”

During their collective tenure at Quilceda Creek, the winemaking team contributed to the winery’s remarkable string of scores and accolades: five 100-point scores from Wine Advocate; three 100-point scores from Washington-based critic Owen Bargreen; two appearances in the top 10 of Wine Spectator’s annual list of top 100 wines in the world, and a third listing in the magazine’s top 100 list; recognized in 2017 as Washington State’s best winery by Wine Advocate; and, a Quilceda Creek wine was served at the White House in 2008 for a state dinner with China.

About Alex Stewart

Stewart spent nearly 17 years at Quilceda Creek. He started as an intern in 2004 and after college was hired as an enologist in 2006. In 2014, he was named production manager and in 2018 was promoted to head winemaker.

A native of Snohomish, WA, Stewart received a degree in enology in 2008 from Cal State Fresno. During that time, he expanded his enology and viticulture education at Ecole d’Ingenieurs de Changins in Switzerland, as well as in Burgundy and Tuscany.

Outside of the wine industry, Stewart enjoys spending time with his wife Kate and their three children, Charles, Thomas and Eleanor, as well as rock climbing and mountaineering, traveling, and gardening.

About Jesse Schmidt

Prior to joining Matthews, Schmidt spent 14 years at Quilceda Creek. He worked his first harvest at the winery in 2007 and was hired full-time in 2009 as a cellar hand. In 2014, he was promoted to assistant winemaker.

Schmidt lives in Kirkland with his wife Darya, and spends his free time performing music, coaching, traveling, and working on small wine projects.

About Hal Iverson

Iverson has significant experience in Washington’s wine industry. Prior to joining Matthews, Iverson was assistant winemaker at Quilceda Creek from 2017 to 2021, with his first harvest there being in 2010.

Iverson is a native of Western Washington and attended Washington State University. He lives in Snohomish where he, his wife Siri and their son Ove just welcomed a new baby brother, Kjell.

About Matthews Winery

Matthews is a family owned and operated winery that embraces old world traditions and incorporates the energy and innovation of the Pacific Northwest. Since 1992, Matthews has crafted red blends from Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot, and white wines exclusively from Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon.

The wines are made in a state-of-the-art facility located in Walla Walla, WA. The winery’s tasting room is located on an eight-acre property in Woodinville, about 20 minutes from downtown Seattle. In addition to a tasting room, the winery grounds include a fully organic farm with an outdoor kitchen and multiple lawns and patios. For information, please visit

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