Robert (Bob) Morus founded and serves as President and Director of Winegrowing for the Mt. Defiance
Wine Company and Phelps Creek Vineyards. He moved to Hood River in 1989 with the expressed goal of
raising wine grapes and kids. Today, the estate vineyards consist of 30 acres. When not tending the vines
or selling our wines, Bob commands a Boeing 777 in international operations for a major airline.
Rich Cushman is Director of Winemaking. A Hood River native, Rich returns home after over 25 vintages in
the Willamette Valley. Classically trained at UC Davis then apprenticing in Germany, Rich brings
experience and a passion for cool weather varietals to our team. Rich's extensive ties to the Northwest
wine industry provides attention, resources and credibility to our operations. He also crafts his own label,
Viento, in our facilities.
Nicole Backus serves as General Manager. Moving to Hood River from SW Michigan in January 2010, she
brings a passion for wine that stems from growing up in a small AVA. After earning her BBA from Western
Michigan University, Nicole's interest set sail in the world of wine while working for Norwegian Cruise Lines in
Hawaii. After seafaring, Nicole returned to Michigan and put her wine knowledge to work for a boutique
winery and also helped to grow a wine distributorship before falling in love with Oregon and Phelps Creek