Meet the Team
Samantha – Owner/ Winemaker
Romance, happy coincidences, an understanding of science and a lifelong appreciation for art, food, and wine led to Samantha’s work as Winemaker and Head of Operations for Orenda Winery and Event Center. It was a non-linear career path – including living abroad in Germany, publishing research in neurology and geriatrics and eventually attending medical school. But after eight years of studying and doctoral research, she felt out of balance. She paused and made the difficult decision to abandon her career in medicine and take a leap of faith. Ultimately, she found Orenda.
Xander Kent – Owner/ Beekeeper
In 2011 Xander came to terms with his fear of bees after he requested to work as a beekeeping trainer while in Africa serving in the Peace Corps. Working to overcome his fears, Xander gained an appreciation for bees’ ability to create balance in nature. Continuing his passion for the environment, Xander went on to get an MBA and Masters of Environmental Management from Duke and has worked in sustainable business for the past 5 years, most recently as a Packaging Sustainability Manager for Amazon. Now supporting Orenda, Xander is humbled to help create a space dedicated to bees, friends, community engagement, and good wine. He hopes people find the same peace and joy from Orenda as he does.
Tressa Watanabe –Manager of Sales & Customer Experience
Born and raised in Woodinville, WA, Tressa began her career in cosmetology. Her passion for baking eventually led to the creation of Tressa’s Bakery in Duvall, WA. After running the bakery for 12 years and experimenting with large grocer bakeries, Tressa began to look for something new. It was about then she met Samantha and Xander at a mutual friend’s restaurant soft opening, finding herself a seat right next to them in one of the last two spots remaining. From there, the rest is history. Tressa continues to bring her sales expertise and customer service talents to Orenda Winery.
35% of all food you eat is dependent on a bee. Like the mission of Orenda suggests, our bees are outstanding community members bringing pollination to our neighbors’ farms. If you prefer something sweeter than wine, we carry small jars of honey made on the property in our tasting room. Each teaspoon of honey is over 3 thousand flowers pollinated and is the life’s work of 12 bees. Honey, just like wine… is liquid sunshine.
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