Continuing our “Meet the Team” blog series, there’s no better time to introduce my mom than her birthday month! This July, we’ll celebrate my mom’s 70th birthday. If you don’t know her, keep reading!

My mom, Ellena Conway, helped open Latah Creek with my dad, Mike, in 1982. The opening of the winery was accompanied by me entering the scene! Yes, I was born right around the same time as the winery opened (I was three weeks early!) In fact, she turned her hospital room into an office, getting her typewriter out, trying to finish all of the paperwork needed to break ground on our winemaking facility. The surprise of my birth didn’t stop my mom from getting all the paperwork submitted in order to move forward with the opening. Her strength and commitment made the winery launch all come together!

My mom takes great pleasure in managing the gift shop. She hand-picks every item and brings a warmth to the shop that makes all our visitors feel like family. Many of the selections in the shop are inspired by her love for Italy, wine, and entertaining. She truly believes she must’ve been Italian in a previous life. Over the years, my parents have taken several trips to Italy. They always return to Spokane with inspiration for new wines, recipes, and gift shop items. For several years, we imported olive oil direct from a farm in Italy that my parents visited. Our customers look forward to sampling my mom’s latest food creations during the many events she’s organized for the winery.

If you need recipe inspiration, turn to one of Ellena’s cookbooks; collections of her own recipes and special creations passed down from family and friends are in them. It may go without saying but, my mom is an amazing cook.

She has the biggest and most generous heart. She adores her family, beautiful granddaughters, good food and, of course, wine. She has been able to combine all these passions into the family owned and operated winery through philanthropic efforts. My mom keeps Latah Creek and her family actively engaged in the community by supporting many local non-profits. So, you can be assured that your purchases at Latah Creek make a difference in the lives of others. The philanthropic efforts at the winery are all in part of my mom’s heart and work at Latah Creek.