Avennia was founded on the passion to showcase Washington as a unique and compelling place for great wines. Their priority is to acquire fruit from some of the finest vineyards in Washington, and allow them to express themselves. They chose to focus on the grape varieties used in Bordeaux and the Rhone, as their similar latitude to Washington makes them a natural fit to excel here.
Timing is everything.
Our winemaking partnership is built on mutual respect, complimentary skills, and a love of great wine.
Our goal is to make wines that evoke clarity: clarity of place, clarity of type, clarity of purpose.
We believe this is best expressed by using the classic French varietals and blends, with methods passed down over generations. We work within this context to allow Washington vineyards and terroirs to distinguish themselves. Terroir is only readily appreciable in a well-formed, harmonious wine. Structure is the backbone from which beauty can radiate.
Chris Peterson (Winemaker/Partner) and Marty Taucher (Managing Partner)
When Marty Taucher asked Chris Peterson to review his draft winery business plan in 2009, it fortuitously coincided with Peterson’s desire to start a new chapter in his winemaking career. The conversation continued at the friendly confines of North Seattle’s Fiddlers Inn, where the vision for Avennia was born. Mutual esteem for their respective strengths and experiences allowed them to forge an effective partnership. Ultimately, they agreed on the Avennia’s core principals – a passionate commitment to signature vineyards and natural processes in the cellar - resulting in timeless, world class wines that are solely and undeniably Washington.
With the support and input from Chris’ wife Lauren Smith and Marty’s wife Colleen, Avennia was a reality. By the end of 2010, 16 tons of fruit were transformed to wine (released to much acclaim in 2012) and relationships in place with the state’s most legendary growers, enabling them to secure the best fruit in the region for future vintages. Almost a decade later, the same core principles continue to inform the direction of the winery and the business day to day.
Avennia is inspired by the Roman name for the city of Avignon, and signifies for us the heart of Old World winemaking. Inspired by the naturalist vigneron methods in the Old World, their winemaking is based on doing less in order to let the fruit speak for itself. With this approach, sourcing the finest fruit possible is paramount, they use native yeast to ferment the wines, and bottle them unfined to preserve the most complexity and expression. Blending trials are used extensively to achieve the finest texture and balance possible.
Their wines are designed to tease rather than flaunt; pique interest, not beg for attention. They stand for elegance, delicacy, purity. The wines are made to enhance conversation, not dominate it, and will be a welcome guest at the table.
In the Vineyard
A lot of thought is put into choosing vineyard sites to match their winemaking style and preference. They choose not only the vineyard sources themselves, but down to their favorite vineyard blocks. There is an emphasis on older vines, and moderate climates, as these features tend to create wine with more depth and complexity—a balance between fruit and non-fruit characteristics. They sample the grapes frequently as harvest approaches, tasting the fruit to try and find the ideal day to harvest. Their picking philosophy is simple: pick the fruit when it is barely, yet definitively, ripe.
In the Winery
Their natural-leaning hand during harvest and fermentation results in many unique blocks of wine in the cellar. The next question is: where do they go? For them, the next critical step is finding the blends. Their approach to blending is extensive and purposeful. This means blending different varieties together of course, but it can also mean blending wines of the same variety from different blocks; wines in new oak with wines in older oak; large barrels with small barrels, or wine aged in concrete. When tasting through blends, the emphasis is on finding balance, structure, and teasing out that inimitable character that makes a wine recognizable related to past vintages, while also being unique.
For them, the highest compliment in a wine is to be balanced and harmonious. They strive for the main elements—the bones of the wine—to be in harmony: fruit, acid, tannin, perhaps oak. The wine moves seamlessly from the front of the palate to the finish, without any of these aspects dominating the others. This is a key tenet of Old World winemaking, and perhaps the one they take most to heart. When you open your next bottle of Sestina, or Arnaut, or any Avennia wine, they hope you taste the care and attention they put into each bottle.
"I continue to consider Chris Peterson’s Avennia estate to be one of the best in Washington State and he’s been making world-class wines for a number of years now. He releases two white wines: A Sauvignon Blanc called Oliane and a Rhone blend of Roussanne and Marsanne called La Perle. The reds are broken up into a Rhône/Bordeaux groups, with the Rhônes including a Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre blend called Justine, and two single-vineyard Syrahs, the Le Corbeau from Mays’ Discovery Vineyard in Horse Heaven Hills and the Arnaut from Dick Boushey’s Boushey Vineyard on the western side of the Yakima Valley. The Bordeaux releases are built around the appellation blends and include the entry-level Gravura, Valery (Merlot dominated), and Sestina (Cabernet Sauvignon dominated). In addition, Peterson also makes a pure Cabernet Franc from Champoux Vineyard in the Horse Heaven Hills and a pure Cabernet Sauvignon from very old vines in the Red Willow Vineyard. As I hope these reviews show, these are brilliant wines readers need to seek out..” - Jeb Dunnuck (April 2018)
12th Annual Washington Wine Awards Winners Are In.
Honoring the best in Washington wine, from all-star vineyards to the top bottles.