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Winemaker Kate Derby in the vineyard
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For winemaker Kate Derby, Spring Valley Vineyard is much more than a winery – it’s also home.

Kate is the granddaughter of Spring Valley Vineyard owners Dean and Shari Corkrum Derby and great-great-granddaughter of Spring Valley founder Uriah Corkrum. Named after Corkrum’s wife Katherine, Kate continues to build the legacy of the highly-acclaimed winery as leader of winemaking operations.

As a child growing up in Minnesota, Kate spent every summer at the ranch at Spring Valley, where early on she learned all about the workings of the wheat farm and winery.

“Growing up at Spring Valley, I spent summers hoeing the rows with my grandfather and racking wine with my
Uncle Devin,” the winery’s founding winemaker, recalls Kate. “I loved watching my Aunt Mary meticulously work on the signature blends. When the end of summer came, I never wanted to leave. I knew this is where I would spend my life.”

A week after graduating with a degree in Psychology from Minnesota’s Bethel University, Kate moved to the ranch
and began working full time for Spring Valley Vineyard, helping to manage the tasting room and giving tours of the winery and farm. She then hit the road, representing the brand across the country – finally joining the winemaking
team in 2011.

“One of my favorite things about my job is the visitors who become friends after they are here,” says Kate. “The family connection and the uniqueness of our 100% estate produced wines mean that everyone can relate to us on a personal level.”

Since taking the helm as winemaker in 2023, Kate continues to make beautiful wines that are uniquely Spring Valley, and thanks long-time Spring Valley winemaker Serge Laville for his leadership and wisdom. “Serge worked with Uncle Devin and is like an uncle to me,” says Kate. “I learned so much from him as a mentor and a friend.”

When asked about her winemaking philosophy, Kate explains that for her, winemaking is like making a great meal. “You start with amazing ingredients and let them shine with limited but thoughtful manipulation,” she exclaims. “Every vintage is different, and that’s the beauty of winemaking. You get to play with what you are given.”

Kate is proud to call herself mom to two young boys, Uriah and Malachi, “so I don’t have too much extra time on my hands!” she jokes. “I love seeing the boys grow and am looking forward to their involvement in our family business.”
In what spare time she does have, Derby enjoys trying new wines, including Cabernet Sauvignons, Cabernet Franc,
and Malbecs; running, reading, and photography.