Q&A with Shae Frichette

Shae Frichette

Co-Owner, Co-Winemaker

Frichette Winery Red Mountain

Shae Frichette

Number of employees you oversee: 5

Brief background of Frichette Winery:

We are a husband and wife-run winery making wines he loves and wine experiences she dreams of. Our expression of flavorful and smooth red wines and “be in the moment” vibes carry through in every sip of wine and in every second of delightfulness in our winery. We have a team of rock stars who are humorous, spectacularly knowledgeable and eager to “wow” every guest.

Our vision is simple, to be a destination winery known for stellar hospitality, beautiful views and premium wines. Our mission is to grow wine grapes and make great wine that will “wow” our guests’ palates. While doing this, we also strive to be good stewards of the land and contributors to our community. Our tasting room on Red Mountain is open noon-5 p.m. daily.

How did you land your current role? How long have you been in it?

I transitioned from working in organizational development to entrepreneurship in 2011. We opened Frichette Winery on Red Mountain in 2013.

For Frichette, I work in our direct-to-consumer side, business development and production.

Why should the Tri-Cities care about the wine and vineyard industries?

The Tri-Cities is blessed to have the perfect conditions to grow lots of ag products, including wine grapes.

We compete with several other notable wine regions in the world. The wine industry provides jobs and economic development opportunities and is a beautiful location for leisure. The product, wine, is fabulous for visitors to enjoy as well as locals.

What is one characteristic that you believe every leader should possess?

Trust.

What is the biggest challenge facing business owners/managers today?

Being pulled in so many directions and keeping up with changes in the market.

You have played a big role in chamber and other civic organizations. What roles have you held? Why is this work important to you?

I’ve served on three boards. The Red Mountain AVA Alliance (vice president), Visit Tri-Cities, chair of Board Tri-City Regional Chamber of Commerce. I also get to volunteer for the Benton City Giving Garden Project, Benton City Revitalization Organization and eMERGE. A community can be great when every citizen who can, will contribute. I’m happy to contribute to my community.

What advice would you give someone going into a leadership position for the first time?

Sit back and observe before jumping in to change things. Create processes for open communication. Extend trust.

Who are your role models or mentors?

I have lots! My first formal mentor was in the last company I worked for, Eric Lewis. He identified leadership qualities I had that I didn’t realize, and I was able to be a more deliberate leader.

In wine, Kasee Venohr took me on informally to show me the ropes of running a tasting room. She was instrumental in my jump-start to leading in the tasting room. Charlie Hoppes has been a mentor and inspiration since we started in wine.

How do you keep your employees motivated?

We listen to their interests and ask for feedback on how to create a great team environment, then we act on it. We give them what they need to be great in their roles, tailor recognition to the individual, set expectations and provide just as much positive feedback as reinforcing feedback.

We celebrate successes (and always look for opportunities to celebrate team members) and jump in to help to keep the team on the right track.

How did you decide to pursue the career that you are working in today?

Greg and I brainstormed careers that would give us goosebumps, and we landed on wine. We were drinking it at the time so perhaps that had something to do with it too.

How do you measure success in your workplace?

When we are meeting our goals, continuously improving and growing/learning we are successful.

What do you consider your leadership style to be?

Collaborative.

How do you balance  work and family life?

I don’t do it as well as I’d like, but for now we have themes. Greg and I have breakfast out once a week. We do donut Fridays and Dadmino’s (when dad makes the pizza instead of Domino’s). During the summer, we do Sunday brunch at Lulu. These are all non-negotiables, and we have them on the calendar. For work, we have work-focused projects where we have to say “no” to events and hanging out with friends because we’ve made commitments for work.

What do you like to do when you are not at work?

Watch reruns of the show “Girlfriends,” visit wineries, chat with friends and ride bicycles with my family near the river.

What’s your best time management strategy?

Put the most important things on the calendar. This includes time to plan a presentation and practice it, donut Fridays, preparing for a meeting, etc. Turn the phone off when working on something that you can’t give your best to if you are distracted.

Best tip to relieve stress? 

WINE.

What’s your favorite podcast?
Most-used apps?

Favorite Podcast is “Social Media Marketing” with Michael Stelzner. Most use apps are LinkedIn, Instagram, Clubhouse, Calm and WhatsApp.

Do you have a personal mantra, phrase or quote you like to use?

You are strong. You are courageous. You are Fierce. You have the ability to create positive change in this world. So lift your chin. Push your shoulders back. And sashay, girl. Sashay!

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