Kate Norris is the co-winemaker, co-owner, leader, strategist, marketing expert, operational guru and all around organizer of the award winning Division Winemaking Company. Her detailed understanding of and extensive experience in the wine, food and event planning industries has well prepared her to run the young, growing company. After establishing the acclaimed 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 creatinga unique, multi-faceted urban winery and wine bar, coupled with increasing public interest in the urban wine movement.
In 2015, Kate’s first solo wines were released by Division Winemaking Company under the new label, Gamine. A childhood moniker for Kate, Gamine means precocious girl with mischievous charm in French. The first Gamine release included a 2014 Petillant Grenache and 2014 Syrah. Both of her first two wines are extremely personal for Kate and are inspired by her parents and global upbringing.
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 numerous times over. She graduated magna cum laude from Colgate University in upstate New York and has since worked at management levels with event planning firms and wineries across the U.S. and in France.
After an amazing year-long experience working and learning how to make wine in France, Kate moved to Oregon determined to make approachable and balanced wines though minimal manipulations that are affordable for all to enjoy. As Southeast Wine Collective has grown into a neighborhood establishment, Kate has enjoyed learning about the relationship people have with wine, adapting and enhancing the wines they make, and creating a space where people can enjoy wine in a social environment.
With her event planning background, Kate has led the expansion of events offered at the Southeast Wine Collective, offering guests the opportunity to connect with wine and the winery socially. 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.
Since opening, the number of wineries in the Collective has continued to grow, expanding from the initial five to the current ten. In the first year, they made Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and a limited amount of Gamay and then began to expand to different varietals. The Southeast Wine Collective currently produces 20 varietals, making it one of the most diverse production spaces in the world. Kate and Tom have provided not only a space for production, but support and mentoring for wineries along the way. Kate likes to see the investment in a community of winemakers as part of a story about Oregon wine that they are supporting and creating a future for.