We recently caught up with Kit Singh, to talk about his new second label.
First, for those who aren’t familiar with Lauren Ashton, can you please tell us how you got into winemaking in the first place?
I’m a dentist by profession, but took some time years ago to explore wine regions of France as well as spending time in Napa and Sonoma. In 2009, I created Lauren Ashton Cellars.
Lauren Ashton Cellars was inspired by my two children, Ashley Lauren and Ashton Troy. I also wanted to reflect on my wife Riinu’s heritage by branding our labels with photographs showcasing the beautiful small country in Europe, Estonia.
My viticulture and enology education includes taking classes at South Seattle Community College and at the University of California at Davis. I interned at South Seattle Community College, Seattle and DeLille Cellars in Woodinville, Washington and taught wine science at South Seattle Community College.
I’m a hands-on operator. I look at where the grapes are coming from and want to express the grapes themselves with little intervention. I believe you have to start with great grapes, you have to taste the grapes often and guide the grapes through the vinification process.
How do you manage to have a pretty demanding day job and make wine, too? When do you find time to sleep?
I’ve had my dental practice, Eastside Dental, for over a decade, and am lucky to have a group of patients who know and trust me as their Dentist. We take appointments there Monday – Thursday, leaving Friday available for me to spend time at the winery. I have a remarkable team at Lauren Ashton Cellars that helps make us successful, including my wife Riinu, who runs our Woodinville tasting studio, our wine club, and so much more.
I could say something clichéd like “Sleep? What is sleep?” But truly I love what I do so it doesn’t feel like work (too often.) I come home when I’ve done what I feel like I set out to accomplish for the day, spend the evening with Riinu and Ashton, usually enjoying Riinu’s incredible home-cooking, take Ashton to ice hockey or soccer or night skiing (depending on the season), maybe catch a Yoga class, then after Ashton is in bed, I’m back to work for a few hours, finishing up anything that will help the next day be another productive one. Sleep comes next, and I try not to miss a night.
What’s the background on how this new project happened?
Yes – Ashton Troy Wines, our second label! This whole story started with my son Ashton (age 8) wanting his own label! We wanted it to be recognizable with the Lauren Ashton Cellars brand as well. We used Ashton’s first and middle name, then used Troy and a play-on-words to come up with the Trojan horse.
Our hope is that the two labels side by side are distinct, but also have the look and feel of the same family of wines.
When thinking about the label and the wine itself, I wanted everything to be inspired by Ashton. These wines are playful, full of energy and warmth, all attributes that Ashton embodies. He’s a very thoughtful kid and the wine takes inspiration from him as a child.
How does that look in the marketplace? Will it be easy for your fans to find?
We designed Ashton Troy Wines to bring to local, regional and national restaurants and help find a new fan base to learn to know and love Lauren Ashton Cellars. Ashton Troy Wines are designed exclusively for the restaurant market and were designed to be bold and stand up to restaurant flavors. The robust reds pair well with meats or red sauces. The wines have brilliant aromatics for the discerning restauranteur. When dining out, please ask the restaurant if they carry Ashton Troy Wines or wines from Lauren Ashton Cellars. If they don’t currently, maybe your request will encourage them to take a look!
Anything else you’re thinking about doing in the near future?
Can you keep a secret? I’ve been considering a sparkling wine and maybe a sparkling Rosé too. We also have some exciting things we’re planning for wine club member events and public events – but too early to spill the details there.
Guest Writer: Leslie Kelly