Hyatt Vineyards in Washington’s Yakima Valley has announced the hiring of Caleb Foster as general manager and winemaker. Foster started at the position earlier this month.
“I’m excited about the opportunity to help manage and drive the future at a place like this,” Foster says. “There’s a great opportunity for growth and change.”
Located in Zillah in Yakima Valley’s Rattlesnake Hills sub-appellation, Hyatt Vineyards was founded in 1983 by Leland and Lynda Hyatt. The winery produces approximately 15,000 cases of wine annually and owns 83 acres of vineyards, planted primary to Riesling, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Malbec.
The Hyatts have been openly looking to sell the winery for some time. Foster was brought on in part to help facilitate a potential sale in the future.
“It’s about envisioning what the new buyer is going to want and need and creating that at this property,” Foster says.
Foster has over 30 years of experience in the Washington wine industry, starting out as assistant winemaker at Woodward Canyon from 1991 until 1999. In 2000, he co-founded Buty Winery in Walla Walla Valley with this then wife Nina Buty. Most recently, Foster spent seven years as winemaker at Richland’s J. Bookwalter Winery before leaving the winery in the spring of 2021. Foster plans to leverage all that experience at his new position.
“I can see clearly the steps that can be made to elevate quality, both in the vineyard and in the cellar as well as elevating the marketing,” he says. In addition to helping revitalize a long-established brand, Foster says there were other aspects that made the job attractive.
“This is a great region for great flavors,” he says. “When you stand on the front lawn here, it’s simply gorgeous. We have an incredible address. There is a great future that can be created here.”
Image by Tessa Morse courtesy of Hyatt Vineyards.