Why make wine? It’s risky. It’s sticky. It’s a lot of hard work. But it tastes so good. And when it’s finally in the bottle, when it’s finally poured into your glass and that first sip tells you, “Yes, this is good...” 

Tom Stangeland didn’t set out to start a winery.

Tom’s introduction to good wine began in Avignon, where he learned how to taste–really taste–wine. Oh, to be young and in France and open a bottle and discover a world inside. His education began with Chateau Neuf-du Papes. “I had to pay $7 a bottle, which seemed really expensive.”

After he lucked into an old-wine tasting in 2001, Tom decided to start collecting Washington wines–to lay them down and taste them at different stages in their aging. But to understand how wines age, he needed to know how wine is made.

Tom’s been making things since he was a kid, when he made and flew model airplanes. During college, he turned his skills to cuisine while working as a dinner chef in a popular Seattle restaurant. From there, he applied his craftsman skills to developing a line of fine furniture. Then, there was that night in 2001…

When he graduated from the Northwest Wine Academy, he quickly realized that to fully explore his new craft, he needed to make more wine. And he already had a shop space. So Tom started Cloudlift Cellars.

Cloudlift wines are made to go with food. After all, Tom used to work as a chef–and he builds dining room tables and chairs designed to stay comfortable for long, leisurely dinners. And with that meal you’ve spent so much time making, you want a wine that’s going to complement all your efforts.

Why do Cloudlift Cellars wines enhance the flavors from your plate on your palate? Their structures feature enough acid so that they complement a meal instead of overshadowing it. And they tend to be lower in alcohol, so that your night can last a lot longer.

Tom’s committed to doing everything well–so when he’s making wine, he wants to make the best wine possible. That’s why he likes to create blends–to take the characteristics and subtleties of different varietals and produce a sum that’s more than its parts. And that’s why Cloudlift Cellars wines have names like Updraft and Ascent.

Now, when it’s harvest time, the whole family stops by to help with crushing and pressing. Everyone’s invited to gather amid the table saws and the drill press and the barrels of last year’s wine aging, heft the new fruit, and then enjoy a delicious lunch. And a glass of wine, because Cloudlift Cellars wines are made to go with a good meal.