Molly grew-up in Kenmore, New York. The 7th of 11 children. Following graduation, Molly traveled to Seattle to visit family in the area. She fell in love with the Pacific Northwest, returned to NY to pack-up her belongings and moved to Seattle in 1975.
She eventually settled in Sequim on the scenic Olympic Peninsula. Molly knows everything Food! She accepted a position as Food Services Manager for the Sequim School District, a job she held for 15 years.
In 2001, Molly embarked on a new career and rented out the school district’s Home Economics classroom to hold a cooking class for members of the community. One of her students happened to be me, Kathy Charlton, the new owner of Olympic Cellars Winery. I was her most challenging student and I’m sure caused her to re-think her new career.
Really though, we hit it off. I recognized talent… she made the best chocolate sauce and I wanted her to work with me at the winery. So Molly gave me a try and helped out with the 2002 Red Wine & Chocolate event. She sold her chocolate sauce, a family recipe which was named after her mother, Annie O’Grady.
Molly runs our tasting room and has greeted thousands of guests over the years. We’ve all become “sisters through the grape” as we grew together learning all aspects of running a winery.
Currently one of the owners, Lisa joined us in 2009. She has a broad knowledge about wine and pairings with food which has come with time, patience, and travel. She has tasted wines in California, Oregon, Washington, various states on the east coast, and throughout Italy.
Lisa studies began with chemistry and ended with a degree in Public Relations. In between she worked for an environmental consultant, traveling the States working on some of the Country’s largest super fund hazardous waste sites. As part of that job, she transported samples and equipment around Seattle in large bread trucks. When talking about this job Lisa said you haven’t lived until you had to parallel park a bread truck on a hill in the rain in Seattle traffic!! She was then 22.
After moving to Sequim in 2004, Lisa realized she had better look for a job in this declining economy. While waiting for her daughter to finish ballet class, “It just popped in my head! I love wine, engaging in conversations, and have good business sense.” She forgot impeccable timing – the day after the winery decided to hire a new employee, Lisa handed in her resume.
Kathy, our original Working Girl retired from Olympic Cellars in August of 2014 when she sold the winery. She will always remain a member of our winery family. Below is her bio from when she was the Winery Owner.
Kathy has been “making it happen” for the past quarter century. A born entrepreneur with a near-fanatical focus on priorities, the Dallas native earned a reputation while at Texas Instruments as a highly effective manager in finance and human resources.
Then in 1999, life threw Charlton a winery! She and her husband purchased Olympic Cellars, a bankrupt boutique winery housed in an historic dairy barn situated on the Charlton’s investment property in Port Angeles, Washington.
The opportunity to turn around a failing business and take it in a whole new direction lent itself to Charlton’s skills and experience and set her enthusiasm on fire (though she had no wine industry expertise). She jumped on an early retirement package offered by Texas Instruments in 2001, packed-up her Dallas home, and together with her husband headed north to begin an exciting second career at the age of 51.
The above is the official bio. What it doesn’t say is I bought a business that I REALLY knew nothing about, liked to drink wine but not my own at first, didn’t know how to sell, could clean bathrooms but wasn’t thrilled to crawl in a tank, tried to wear heals in the tasting room during the first year (I was out of my mind), blew up a tank of Merlot during bottling and the list goes on. The glamor of owning a winery faded fast as reality set in… then hard work and pride in even the smallest accomplishment took over (I actually got the labeling machine to work.)
To me Olympic Cellars is way more than a winery, it is a gathering place. We may be a tad unconventional in our approach but very serious about our wine. So this summer… skydive into our back field, join us for a double gold glass of Cab Franc and then let the history of the barn surround you as you kick up your heals at our barn dances.