Family. Tradition. Caprio.

A love for wine has been in my family long before I was born. My ancestors viewed wine as simply an essential part of daily life. Sanitella, my great grandmother, knew each family in her small italian neighborhood by their homemade wine. For her, a person’s very character was built on the quality of their craft. Now, with caprio cellars, I hope to honor the tradition my family has had with wine for over a century. I hope that you will become a part of the caprio family and enjoy what for me is so elemental to the joy of life. Welcome to caprio cellars.

Hands To The Earth

Generation after generation we're drawn to tuning in our senses to the elements. Earth, water, minerals, and sun combine effortlessly. It keeps us connected to the craft and to each other.

Wine Culture

The sharing and appreciation of wine brings together fellowship, the senses, and discernment. Refining one's appreciation of wine over time in a social setting is a unique, wonderful experience we've been drawn to over three generations like bees to honey.

Dennis Murphy

Owner & Winemaker

For 16 years, Dennis has been a builder of homes throughout the Northwest. Splitting his time between in Bend, Oregon and Walla Walla, Washington has afforded him the pleasure of living in and around the finest wine-making regions in the Northwest. As a passionate wine lover, he watched Walla Walla officially affirm its place as one of the premier wine producing regions in the world, and was more than eager to become a part of its fast-emerging tradition. With the help of many hardworking people who share the same passion for great wine, he built another kind of home: Caprio Cellars.

Behind the scenes

We've all come together surrounding a common passion. Hard work goes into our fields, tasting room, and everywhere else, but some days go by effortlessly nonetheless. We love what we do.

Derek Brendle

Derek Brendle

General Manager / Certified Sommelier

Derek came to Walla Walla in 2019 upon opening Caprio Cellars new tasting room. Derek comes from a long line of hospitality and food service from his humble beginnings shaping and kneading bread at his parent’s bakery in the San Francisco Bay Area. During college studies, Derek always had one foot in restaurants both in Bend Oregon and San Francisco which allowed him to pursue his passions for hospitality and wine.

While working with Delfina restaurant group in San Francisco. Derek had the wonderful opportunity to work with award winning bar and wine programs which inspired him to pursue the Court of Master Sommeliers. After returning to Bend Oregon, Derek managed 900 Wall Restaurant where he continued to foster growth in the world of wine and hospitality. During his time at 900 Wall, Caprio Cellars “Eleanor” was a main stay of their glass program and the catalyst for Derek’s involvement with Caprio Cellars.

In his free time Derek enjoys his other passion of music and playing drums. Derek was a student of music college and continues to play drums and teach others. He and his girlfriend, Julie, enjoy traveling the world, scuba diving and experiencing new cuisines. They have an 11 year old lab named Lloyd that accompanies them on their new adventures in Walla Walla. Derek is a firm believer in the transformative power of hospitality and warmly welcomes you to Caprio Cellars to taste their wines and be in their care.

Emily Kiefer

Emily Kiefer

Customer Experience Director

Emily comes to Caprio Cellars from a long history of being in the restaurant and hospitality industry. Living in several different states to expand her knowledge of customer service her and her family settled here in Walla Walla in September of 2018 which is when she joined the Caprio team.

Emily has a strong passion for hospitality and wanted to use her experiences with her career at Caprio Cellars. Setting no limits to come up with creative ways to enhance the customer experience.

When she is not hosting groups in the tasting room or doing vineyard tours Emily is soaking in time with her daughter, creating new adventures with her husband or at the gym where she enjoys the community of her fellow cross fit crew.

Candice Smith

Candice Smith

Executive Chef

Candice is a 2015 graduate of the Wine Country Culinary Institute of Walla Walla, and has been in the kitchen as long as she can remember. Her grandmother built her food-loving foundation as soon as she could stand on a stool and hold a spoon.

Before coming to Caprio, Candice opened and ran a small sustainability-based catering company as well as being a pastry chef for several other Walla Walla establishments.  Her food style speaks to fresh, local, and old world cooking methods with elegant flare.

In her off time--Candice enjoys spending any possible time with her 4 children and partner. You can often find her family working in their garden or planning the next big adventure.

Claire Ommen

Claire Ommen

Tasting Room Associate

Claire is the newest and youngest member of the Caprio Cellars family. During her childhood in Minnesota, her family-life was centered around the table, and on that table she found her life-long interest in food, wine, and the culinary experience. At just 23 she has worked as a bike-mechanic, an EMT, and a fine-dining server before finding her way to the Walla Walla wine industry.

Claire’s introduction to wine came from Balboa Winery, where she worked while completing her degree in Politics from Whitman College. This work experience exposed her to the industry and gave her an excellent knowledge of the larger world of wine. Claire now brings her experience in winery marketing and wine-club operations to the Caprio team.

Claire is an avid runner, mountain biker, and enjoyer of outdoor adventures. She is equally enthusiastic about eating and drinking delicious things. When she’s not at Caprio, she works as a paralegal in Walla Walla. Claire lives with her partner Alec, who also works in wine, and they believe that life should be structured so as to derive joy from every part of it. She brings that attitude to the Caprio tasting room, where she combines positive energy and her excellent base of wine-knowledge with Caprio’s unique wine tasting experience.

Hillary Blanc

Hillary Blanc

Administrator

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