We (Kelly, Mom/President/Founding Winemaker and Chris Sparkman, Dad/President/Founding Winemaker) launched Sparkman Cellars in Woodinville, Washington in 2004 to focus on our family. In Year One we made one baby girl, 12 barrels of wine (289 cases) and three labels in a tiny warehouse. In Year Three we made another baby girl, opened our first tasting room, made 1425 cases of wine and eight labels. We have now grown our annual production to over 12,000 cases in our shiny new winery, tasting room and event hall at the old Redhook Brewery in Woodinville. The babies are now in high school. We remain a family owned and operated winery committed to making wines that are considered among the finest in the world.
Kelly’s Wildlife Biology degree led her to mountain tops in Wyoming with the Peregrine Fund Reintroduction Program, old growth forests for the U.S. Forest Service Spotted Owl Preservation Program in California and under icy waters as a diver for Prince William Sound Aquaculture in Alaska. Just prior to motherhood, she worked eight years as a veterinarian technician at Inglemoor Animal Hospital. As a mother of two, with two dogs and two cats, she still manages a lot of wildlife.
Chris holds a Master’s Degree in International Environmental Policy from the Middlebury Institute of International Studies in Monterey. He was a National Sea Grant Fellow, serving as marine mammal policy analyst for the NOAA’s International Whaling Commission team. He also served as an Agroforester in the Peace Corps, living in a montaine cloud forest in Cameroon in 1994-95.
He spent much of his nearly 30-year hospitality career heading heralded service teams at national icons, including El Gaucho and AQUA in Seattle, Todd English’s Olives in Washington D.C., Michael’s in Santa Monica, Calif. and Commander’s Palace in New Orleans. In 2010 Seattle Magazine named him Sommelier of the Year.
We both grew up in Tennessee: Kelly in Memphis, Chris in Knoxville. After a ten year courtship that wound through five continents and spanned from the Arctic Circle to Australia (lots of stories there), we were married on Secret Beach on Kauai in 2002. We currently reside in Woodinville, Washington with our daughters Stella Mae and Ruby Leigh.
Our artisan handcrafted style produces powerful, well-balanced yet elegant award-winning wines. We also enjoy contributing to our community and to causes that resonate with our family, which is another way that the wine world helps make our lives rich.
Sparkman Cellars 2013 Holler Cabernet Sauvignon was named #21 on the 2016 Wine Spectator Top 100. The winery has also been named one of Wine Spectator’s Rising Stars, Wine Enthusiast’s Cult Winery and Wine & Spirits’ Top 100 Wineries in the World.
Why did we start our winery? Well, we wrote all the vision stuff like ‘Our intention is to make wines that are considered among the finest available, and that will hopefully find their way onto your table’ and such, which is true. Then we asked ourselves, ‘Why don’t we just tell them what we stand for?’ So that’s where our tagline came from: Family. Good Livin’. Damn Fine Wine. Seems like that makes sense to people. Especially if your wine is delicious and your kids are good people.
Here’s to you and yours,
The Sparkman Family
Meet your Sparkman Cellars Family
General Manager Bryan Keay
Bryan, General Manager, generally manages all things in the front of the house at Sparkman Cellars. Hailing from Louisiana, Bryan brings a genuine sense of Southern charm and hospitality that helps our guests feel the love. He earned his sommelier certification from the Court of Masters in 2007. After many years in fine dining from Alaska to New Orleans, he joined Sparkman Cellars staff permanently in 2009.
Winemaker Linn Scott
Linn, a Seattle native, has worked in the Washington wine industry since 2001. After deciding to make the wine world a long term home, Linn attended Universities in France and Germany earning a Master’s degree in Viticulture and Enology. 2010 was his first harvest with Sparkman Cellars. He is also involved with the International Pinot Noir Celebration and teaches part time at South Seattle Community College.
Key Account Specialist Evan Abrott
Event Sales Mandy Brown
Wine Club Manager Kristi Chewning
Hospitality Manager Pam Herman
Assistant General Manager Marlena Sherlock
Tasting Room Manager Mandi Smith
Cellar Master Winemaker Seth Wright
Tasting Room Team
Brittany Van Brunt