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Meredith Smith takes over at Ste. Chapelle Winery


CALDWELL, Idaho – Sawtooth winemaker Meredith Smith saw her responsibilities skyrocket from 10,000 cases to 135,000 in one day when Maurine Johnson announced that she was leaving Ste. Chapelle – Idaho’s largest winery – to join the red wine team Hogue Cellars in Washington state.

Seattle-based Precept Wine told Great Northwest Wine on Thursday that Smith will head up all of its Idaho winemaking. Today, Precept will announce the closing of Sawtooth’s winemaking facility in Nampa and consolidating production at Ste. Chapelle.

The plan was to have Johnson and Smith remain with their prospective bands, then Johnson shocked Precept by tendering her resignation Wednesday afternoon.

“This had absolutely nothing to do with sharing space,” said Johnson, an Idaho native who has worked at Ste. Chapelle on the Sunnyslope Wine District since 1987. “I was looking forward to working with Meredith and collaborating on things, but it just happened that this opportunity popped up and I would be a fool not to take it.”