When Catherine first visited Helvetia Winery in 2010, she came for facts not for wine. She was working for the federal government then, conducting the 2010 census in the Helvetia area and other Tualatin Mountain surrounds. John Platt recalls her going beyond the usual questions and engaging in a conversation about a wide range of topics related to the people and places on both the east and west slope communities.
A year later, when she stopped by the winery seeking work as a server, she offered her resume after a brief phone interview. John told her not to bother. Her vetting as a census taker by the federal government ensured she was not a security risk and her friendly style and engaged conversation had qualified her for the job months earlier. As an added qualification, she was an Oregon wine aficionado who had followed the growth of our industry from its inception and loved tasting each new vintage . . . in moderation.
According to Catherine, “Wine is delicious. I have discovered it offers life-long-learning as well. Everyday I experience something fascinating and quite often in areas of study I would have avoided when in school; geography, chemistry, botany, meteorology—wine is all of them. And did I mention, wine is delicious.” Catherine brings curiosity as well as a friendly outlook. She sees her work as an “opportunity to meet visitors.”
“They come to the winery from the metro area; from states all over the US, and from countries all over the world. They come to us bringing friendship and good humor and contribute knowledge of their own to our wine tasting conversations—together we share an interest in wine and together we learn.”
While her avocation is wine, her job focus is exhibit design. She is a graphics artist who, under the business name Dalziel Graphics, has developed displays for entities including OMSI, the Oregon Jewish Museum, the Multnomah County Library and other public institutions.
Catherine is one of the reasons Helvetia Winery is so special, and we are all better for having her around.