Tasha McCorkle McKee began making blackberry and rose petal wines in her parent’s barn at just 16 years of age. She was fascinated with the magical transformation of fruit during fermentation and the more subtle changes in wine that occurs during the aging process. She came to see wine as a living being, not always predictable, but sometimes evolving into something unexpected and wonderful.
When she was 21, Tasha left her home in Whitethorn, compelled by a desire to make great wines. She pursued her study of Enology and Viticulture at U.C. Davis, where she graduated with the highest honors and a B.S. degree in Fermentation Science. Afterwhich, Tasha discovered the art of making fine wine at Simi Winery. While at Simi, she visited Bordeaux, France. She was impressed by how well winemakers understood the terroir of their vineyards. She later applied this same understanding to making wines that express the fullest potential of each vineyard.
In 2002, the Mattole River, which flows through the Whitethorn Valley, stopped flowing. As isolated pools dried up, thousands of coho salmon perished. This crisis eclipsed Tasha’s work at Whitethorn Winery. She began working for Sanctuary Forest and, together with the local community, government agencies, and non-profits developed the Mattole Low-Flow Program. The first voluntary incentive-based program in California to address both water supply for human use and streamflow.