Katie Delaney Owen
Sommelier // Wine Director at Club W
Before joining Club W, Katie traveled back and forth between Australia and Napa Valley pursuing her passion for hands-on winemaking. Her globetrotting allowed her to work two harvest seasons each year, learning from innovative winemakers and passing the time between jobs working in restaurants as a server or wine steward.
As Wine Director of Club W, Katie combines her love of winemaking and her sommelier knowledge and education to provide better ways to buy and enjoy wine. Katie works with Chief Wine Officer Brian Smith to source the best possible grapes and make the best possible wines while maintaining high quality and low prices. She participates in each step of the process, from branding and communicating with our Winemaker Partners to educating through wine tastings and seminars.
Accolades and Current Projects
What do you love most about your job?
There are so many things that I love about my job, but the first things that come to mind are that it's challenging and dynamic, and I'm surrounded by great people with different skill sets who make me want to work harder and be better (in a good way). I get to be close to wine and winemaking on a daily basis, but also be close to our members by getting their feedback and taking it into consideration when shaping the wine program for the future.
What’s your favorite place to eat, drink, or play?
San Francisco. There are an endless amount of places to eat, drink and play in that city, and wine country is a short jaunt away. It doesn't get much better than that perfect mix of the buzzing city life and a peaceful getaway to Sonoma. It's also full of memories for me because I spent a couple of my first harvests up there.
If you were throwing a dinner party and could invite anyone, who would it be?
It would likely be eight to 10 of my favorite global wine producers at the same table — each one from a different country. Each of them would bring their favorite wine in a brown bag, and we'd all sit around and eat and geek out all night over things like methoxypyrazines and tannin structure.
Who’s your palate icon?
My palate icon is definitely the first winemaker I ever worked with in South Australia: Justin Lane. He didn't go to school for wine or have any professional training. He learned how to make wine by traveling as a flying winemaker and learning from the best in Europe. His palate is spot on, and the confidence that he has in his palate is inspiring. Sometimes we get in our own way!
Who or what do you consider your biggest influence?
In life? My husband. He's always reminding me that I'm capable of doing things that I think I can't. In wine? There are many: all of the young winemakers who are challenging the status quo and making wines with a little less technological influence and a little more heart and soul.