Best Emerging Winery
Kevin White is part of the Washington vanguard emphasizing purity and elegance over concentration and power. White says that his style is “heavily influenced by the role that wine plays with food; to form a symphony and bring a meal together.” He launched his eponymous winery (based in Woodinville) with a single wine from the 2010 vintage, a Syrah from Olsen Vineyard in the Yakima Valley, all while maintaining a day job at Microsoft (a gig he holds to this day). His focus on Rhône varieties has continued from there, with three Grenache-Syrah-Mourvèdre blends (red wine, La Fraternité and Pionnier) and one Syrah (En Hommage).
From the beginning, White’s vineyard sourcing has been excellent. He purchases his Rhône varieties from Yakima Valley stalwarts like Boushey, Upland and Olsen vineyards. For now, White has capped his total production at 1,500 cases, in order to “focus on increasing quality versus making more wine.”
Winemaker to Watch
Kevin White of Kevin White Winery
"One of the best trends to come out of the past decade of Washington wine is the emergence of Rhône blends (generally bold reds that feature Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre) as an important group of wines for our state."
Inside Washington State's Warehouse Wineries
Some of the Washington's best wines are being made in a tiny city just north of Seattle and far from the well-known vineyards on the eastern side of the state
"Kevin White makes Rhône-style reds while holding down a full-time job at Microsoft. Mr. White's interest in wine developed around 2005. He took a wine science class at Seattle Community College and volunteered for industry stars like Chris Sparkman. Mr. White stressed how much he had benefited from the collective wisdom of fellow winemakers who made it possible for him to start an eponymous label with "a lot of good will and just a little bit of money."
The name of one of his wines honors the friendships that helped him establish his career. The La Fraternité (or brotherhood) is a Grenache-dominant homage to his winemaking colleagues. The rich and lush 2012 version was one of my favorite wines of the tasting."
The taste of success
With upwards of 800 wineries, Washington state has emerged as the second-largest premium wine producer in the United States. Turning off a side street in an industrial area of sleepy Woodinville, I start to think the majority of these wineries might reside here, within a complex of storage depots referred to by locals as the “warehouse district.”
OK, so industrial concrete isn’t quite the image of vast farmlands and sprawling grapevines I envisioned on my way over. For that you’d have to travel to Eastern Washington, to Walla Walla and Horse Heaven Hills - places with the kinds of names you couldn’t make up if you tried. But I didn’t come here for the scenery. I came to meet Kevin White.
Going all in
"How many of us have gazed out an office window and wondered whether we should be following our passions? Have you ever asked yourself what might happen if you ditched the nine-to-five job and lived your dream instead?