A Second Career Turns Out to Be a Rewarding
Social Mission for Teresa and Tim Gamble
Owners of Tinte Cellars are all in when it comes to giving back to the community. To date, the Gambles have supported 75 non-profit organizations throughout the State of Washington.
by Mark Storer
Teresa Spellman Gamble remembers a very important question her father, former Washington Governor John Spellman, asked her and her siblings when she was a teenager. “He asked us if we had all the money in the world, but still had to work, what would we do,” she said. “Everybody had an answer, and I didn’t know.”
It took her some time, but she did figure it out. She told him, “I’m going to have a business where I’m going to sell local products and art, and every year I will choose a different non-profit to receive the sales.” The seed had been planted.
Not long after that, Teresa was studying in France, and she hiked to “Châteauneuf-du-Pape” to buy a bottle of her father’s favorite wine from that region to bring home to him. “I knew from a young age that wine builds community,” she said. The seed that was planted was taking root.
While Teresa worked for more than 30 years as an executive at the University of Washington, her husband, Tim Gamble, and she owned a company called Nutraceutix, which produced probiotics from growing the bacteria to final packaging and sales. “We were at a point in our lives trying to figure out if we were going to double the size of this business, because it was just exploding then, or are we going to sell it and move on to our second careers,” Teresa said.
The couple had come to a crossroad and had to make a decision. They wanted to create a new business that had a social mission, one that would give back to the community, and the state, they so loved. “We decided that we would sell the business if we could find a suitor that would retain every employee and provide them with more of a career path.” A company in Sweden proved to be the right match and the Gambles sold Nutraceutix, Teresa left the University and the couple began preparing for their next step.
The process seems magical to hear Teresa tell it. Of course, it was a matter of long conversations and discussions with each other, with friends and family (the couple has two sons) and some soul-searching. “We had conversations with people and spent time thinking about it,” Teresa explained. But it was a moment of serendipity at a small winery where the pieces began to fit together.
“We were wine club members at a small one-man winery and we were talking to the owner about the idea of opening an event facility for non-profits to use at no cost to them,” said Teresa. The name of the winery was Cuillin Hills. Teresa said she and Tim wanted to connect this new venue with wine somehow because, as she said previously, wine brings people together and creates community. “Washington is a wine state, and we are multi-generational Washingtonians and that made sense to us.”
The conversation did not fall on deaf ears. The owner of the winery told the couple that he was considering stepping away from the business and asked if they wanted to buy his winery. “At first, we didn’t know. His facility wasn’t that big, and it wasn’t really what we wanted to do,” Teresa said.
But right next door was another winery called William Church, and at that moment Noah Fox Reed, the winemaker at William Church, walked out the door and handed the couple a business card. He told the Gambles that he’d signed a non-disclosure agreement, but that they might want to talk to the owners there because they were considering retiring. “In a 20-minute conversation, we went from maybe we’ll have a venue for non-profits to, OK, let’s buy these two neighbor wineries and it will all come together,” said Teresa.
The couple had made a full barrel of wine together previously with what Teresa called “great results,” and the idea fused with the couple’s desire to create a new business, their love of wine, their Washington roots and a desire to give back to the community. Tinte Cellars was born.
Reed now serves as Tinte’s winemaker and produces about 3,500 cases of wine each year,
including Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Malbec (which won Sunset International’s Best of Class award), as well as Syrah, Grenache, Mourvedre, Marsanne, Rousanne, Viognier and a number of other varietals, including Sauvignon Blanc, and Petit Verdot.
Reed also makes several blends like a Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre called “Irish Eyes” (named after Teresa’s late parents and her father’s love of Rhône-style wines) and a Merlot-focused Bordeaux blend called Rambler’s Red” as well as the house blend called Bishop Blend, a Bordeaux varietal wine. “I also make a Rosé of Counoise, which is unique and sells out whenever we have it,” Reed said. “It’s a fun grape to work with and has worked out well.”
Reed is a Washington native and a graduate of Walla Walla Community College’s wine program. “I already had a degree in philosophy, but what do you do with that?” said Reed. “I grew up drinking wine with my parents around the time that places like Leonetti were getting started. I just jumped in with both feet, became more interested and did a harvest and never looked back.”
Reed said working with the Gambles has been a great winemaking experience. “They asked me what I needed, and I told them we need a press, and we got one” he said. “They’ve just opened up resources and given me the opportunity to do things the way I really want to do them and I’m grateful for that.”
Teresa said the winery’s name can be pronounced however one likes because, “it means many things in different languages,” she said. It can even stand for “Tim ‘n’ Teresa.” In French, the word is pronounced “tin-tay” and means the sound of clinking glasses when making a toast, which suits the wine theme just fine as well. In Spanish, the word means “inky,” or “colored water.”
The facilities at Cuillin Hills and William Church were not ideal for the needs of a venue where non-profits could hold events, because part of the year is dedicated to making the wine, which takes up space. “It’s not ideal to have people coming in for events while you’ve got grapes, barrels and tanks all over,” Teresa said. So, the couple found a building in Seattle’s Georgetown neighborhood that they purchased, renovated and now use as both a tasting room and an event facility.
“It’s available for non-profits to use and we do not charge them a facility fee and we donate most of the wine for their event.” They also rent the facility out, prioritizing their wine club members, for various uses. In addition to the Georgetown tasting room, Tinte has two tasting rooms in Woodinville, one of them at its production facility.
The Georgetown tasting room is located at 5951 Airport Way South
Seattle, WA 98108. Phone: (206) 829-9941. In Woodinville, one tasting room is located in the Woodinville Warehouse District at 19495 144th Ave. NE, # A-110 Phone: (425) 659-9463) and the other is located in the Hollywood District at 14455 Woodinville Road, next to Purple Café. Phone: (425) 659-9463.
Since 2018, the Gambles have sourced Washington grapes to make their wines and just recently purchased two vineyards on Red Mountain, which is a place that Tim said he has had an interest in and loved for many years.
Their first acquisition was the former Corvus Vineyard, which also has a vacation rental on the property that the couple has updated and is available on VRBO. In addition, in late 2021, they purchased E & E Shaw vineyard after the Shaws themselves, who Teresa has known since she was young, invited the Gambles to purchase it from them. That vineyard has a production facility and warehouse that the Gambles will eventually make use of as well. Working with vineyard manager Andrew Schultz, Tinte Cellars will offer its first estate wine, a Red Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon this year.
“We don’t have a desire to grow,” said Teresa. “We’re in a happy place and are comfortable where we are. It’s just so enriching to work with the wine community, and the larger community and charities that are providing care and services to the place we call home.”
Reed likes the Gamble’s approach as well. “Their social mission is so great and so important. It’s pretty noble what they’re doing, and their whole thing is ‘we still want you to make world class-wine. We don’t want to sacrifice anything on the winemaking side,’” he said. “I don’t have goals to grow this to 300,000 cases and sit behind a computer writing work-orders.”
According to Teresa, Tinte Cellars annually selects a few nonprofit organizations to receive a portion of all wine sales. The last two years, those charities were Mary’s Place, Northwest Harvest, Seattle Children’s Behavioral Health Crisis Care Clinic, and the Yakima Valley Farm Workers Clinic.
In addition, Tinte Cellars has supported more than 75 Washington state non-profit organizations and charities and provides opportunities for its customers, club members and employees to “amplify” their own positive impact on the world. “For me, Tinte Cellars is literally a dream come true,” Teresa concluded.
You can purchase Tinte Cellars wines at all of their tasting rooms, of course, but if you aren’t planning a trip to the Seattle area this summer, you can buy their wines from the winery’s online wine store by visiting: www.tintecellars.oderport.net/wines/Wines.