A World of Wine Beckons

Nichole Cruz, Tasting Room Manager at Gård Vintners in Woodinville, Washington, isn’t your average hospitality professional. Drawn to the alluring blend of history, storytelling, and intricate science that defines the world of wine, Nichole embarked on a remarkable journey that’s as captivating as the vintages she curates.

Building a Wine Family

Nichole’s passion for wine led her to Central Washington University, where she earned a coveted degree in Global Wine Studies and Tourism Management. Armed with knowledge and determination, she ventured into the heart of Oregon’s Willamette Valley, taking on the role of Winery Ambassador and National Sales Administrator at Willamette Valley Vineyards. But the call of Washington was strong, and Nichole returned to her home state to become Tasting Room Manager at Torii Mor Winery. Here, she spent seven years fostering a love for Oregon Pinot Noir within the Washington market.

Today, Nichole thrives as Tasting Room Manager at Gård Vintners, where she shares her infectious enthusiasm for wine through education and exceptional hospitality. But her greatest reward? Cultivating a sense of community – a “wine family” –  among customers and industry colleagues.

Embracing Change and Opportunity

The dynamic hospitality industry demands adaptability and resourcefulness. Nichole acknowledges this challenge, emphasizing the importance of being open to change and new opportunities.  Her advice for aspiring women in the field? Embrace flexibility and constantly seek ways to inspire and elevate the guest experience.

The Future is Female (and Full-Bodied!)

As the hospitality sector undergoes exciting transformations, Nichole recognizes the influx of a younger generation of women seeking elevated experiences and in-depth knowledge. This trend excites her, and she looks forward to crafting unique experiences tailored to this demographic and beyond

Lifting Each Other Up

Nichole is a firm believer in the power of mentorship, actively guiding and encouraging newcomers to the wine industry, especially fellow women.  She credits her own success to incredible mentors like Amy Griffin-Maffre and Monique Bailey, and draws inspiration from the growing legion of female winemakers, growers, and industry leaders.