Division Wine Company is the founding winery in the Southeast Wine Collective, an urban winery cooperative in Portland. If you've visited Portland, you may have walked right by it and not known - it's right off Division Street near two of the city's best restaurants, Ava Gene's and Pok Pok.
The “itch” first surfaced for co-owner/winemaker Tom Monroe when he registered in college for a class called “Beverage Management,” which was essentially an entry level sommelier course. For Kate Norris (also co-owner/winemaker), it was during numerous trips to her family home in the high Loire Valley in central France where she and her family would drink magical wines made from the many local hillside vineyards.
The itch grew to something between hobby and addiction when Kate and Tom met in San Francisco and spent countless days drinking and eating their way through the Bay Area and the Sonoma and Napa wine country. It was shortly after this during Tom’s grad school days that they began plotting a change in life from high finance and office cubicles to muckboots and winery cellars.
Kate’s family home in France proved to be a perfect place for their immersion into viticulture and enology. Starting with no grape farming or production experience, they crafted Pinot Noir, Gamay and Chardonnay for regional greats, Domaine Sauvat, during the 2009 season and harvest. With a lot of help from Kate’s fluency in French, they both completed an intensive 8-month private viticulture and enology program with both classroom and field study in the vineyards and wineries of Burgundy, Beaujolais and the Northern Rhone.