Our Winemaker

Winemaker Sean Hails: Embracing Washington’s Diversity

A native of Canada, Columbia Winery Winemaker Sean Hails has always been driven by a deep sense of curiosity, innovation and adventure. This desire to learn and discover more has taken him around the world, seeking out new and unique experiences.

After earning a bachelor’s degree in microbiology from the University of Guelph in Ontario, Sean headed to Australia to make wine, balancing work with backpacking excursions along the country’s eastern coast. Returning to North America in 1994, his winemaking pursuits took him through the vineyards of Canada, from the Okanagan Valley to the Niagara Peninsula. He moved to California winemaking in 2005 before becoming Columbia Winery winemaker in 2012, now making his home in Eastern Washington.

Sean has embraced both Washington’s rich diversity in geography, climate and soil and his role as caretaker of Columbia Winery’s trailblazing history. “I feel very fortunate to be a part of the legacy of one of Washington’s most historic wineries,” he said.

“The quality of wines made in Washington is incredibly high,” Sean continued. “We have a diversity here that is unlike any other place. Our winemaking philosophy at Columbia Winery is to support that diversity through our premier sourcing and cellar techniques so we can craft the best possible wines.”  

In his free time, Sean enjoys finding new ways to discover Washington, whether canoeing on its waterways, tasting the delicious local cuisine or capturing its natural beauty through a camera lens.