In Washington, new winemakers get the word out in different ways: a debut at Taste Washington, pouring at a local wine event, or perhaps an in-person tasting at a bottle shop—all avenues that disappeared once the pandemic hit. This trio of newly minted wineries deserves attention under any circumstance, even more so after weathering a historically rough debut.
Nova Scotia–born Peter Devison earned a degree in enology and viticulture in New Zealand before finding his way to Washington. Over the last 16 years, he has plied his trade at Tsillan Cellars, Precept, Efeste, and most recently Cadaretta before starting his eponymous winery with his wife, Kelsey, in 2019. The Devisons planned to launch their winery at Taste Washington the next year. Attendees of that canceled event missed thrilling, intensely flavored wines—each among the best in its class. But there’s no reason for you to miss them at Devison’s newly opened Walla Walla tasting room.
Many new Washington wineries seek out warehouse space in Woodinville or SoDo, or set up shop somewhere in Eastern Washington. Instead Kevin and Kathryn Mueller started their winery in the garage next to the family home in Shoreline. At Virtue, Kevin makes vivid wines, their purity owing to a lack of new oak, at least in the 2018 vintage. Better still, these top-quality, nano-produced wines are extremely well-priced. While Virtue won’t open its tasting room until 2022, the couple does bottle and case sales out of their home, and the wines are available at select retailers.
Greg Peiker found vinous inspiration from the question Russell Wilson’s father famously posed to his young son: “Why not you?” After having worked nearly 20 years at Microsoft, Peiker took winemaking classes at Northwest Wine Academy. As he sought an internship, a winemaker friend offered to mentor him through the process if Peiker bought some grapes. Remarkably, the wines from that internship became the inaugural vintage for Woodinville-based Quiddity, a word that means “the essential nature of a thing.” These are glorious wines, mostly Rhône styles and packed to the brim with fresh fruit.