July 25, 2017
Honoring the best in Washington wine, from all-star vineyards to the top bottles.
Winemaker of the Year
Awarded to a winemaker who is known for the quality of his or her winemaking, contributions to the winemaking community and for helping put Washington wines on the national stage.
Avennia, Passing Time
When the history of Washington wine is written, a seminal moment will be the 2001 inauguration of the Enology and Viticulture Program by the legendary (and late) Stan Clarke at Walla Walla Community College. In subsequent years, that program launched dozens of successful Washington winemaking careers. The very first class, in 2003, probably didn’t even include a dozen students, but it did contain Chris Peterson, our 2017 Winemaker of the Year.
Peterson parlayed his enology degree into a cellar master job at the outstanding Woodinville-based DeLille Cellars; by the time he departed DeLille in 2011, he had risen all the way to the role of production winemaker. When Peterson left DeLille to start Woodinville-based Avennia (founded in 2010 in partnership with Microsoft marketing veteran Marty Taucher), he garnered immediate praise for a fully formed house style that emphasized elegant, restrained reds and whites, with a balance of fruit and non-fruit elements, and a firm embrace of the earthy side of wine. His winemaking skill was noticed by former NFL quarterbacks Damon Huard and Dan Marino, and when they started their Passing Time Winery in 2012, they chose Peterson as their winemaker, partnering to make richer, more robust Cabernet Sauvignons that retain his signature elegance.>>>Read entire article on Seattle Magazine