Chris entered into the business of wine distribution after graduating from Western Washington University in 1991. He started his career representing some of the finest wines in the world and travelling extensively in the wine areas of Italy, Spain and Germany and transitioned to making wines in 1999, producing small batch wines, using “stolen fruit” from many of Washington’s best vineyards.
In 2002, Chris took his years of experience in the global wine industry to launch his own super-premium Washington Winery, Gorman Winery, using fruit from Kiona Vineyards. For almost ten years, he was the only employee, focusing on Red Mountain Cabernet and Syrah.
In 2010, he launched his second label, Ashan Cellars, focusing solely on Washtington state Chardonnay. Today he still focuses closely on high-quality fruit and oak in small production, as well as wearing many hats on the sales, marketing, and events side of the business.Wine Spectator named him one of ten rising stars in American winemaking in 2008, in 2017 the 2014 vintage of Zachary’s Ladder made Wine Spectator’s Top 100 list, and his wines regularly fetch 90+ scores today. 2019 will mark Chris’ 20th harvest for Washington state wine.
It’s impossible to convey the history and pedigree of Red Mountain without telling Scott’s story. He and his wife Vicky moved to the AVA in 1984, when coyotes outnumbered humans and vineyards were a novelty.
After earning his Agricultural Engineering degree from Washington State University and helping his parents to plant one of the first vineyards, Kiona Winery grew under Scott’s direction, as did his influence in Washington wine. In ten years, 10 acres had turned into 20, and in another decade, more than 60 acres. Scott planted blocks of less-common varieties, including Syrah and Zinfandel in the 1990s, Sangiovese and Carmenère in the 2000s, and Petite Sirah in the 2010s.
His client list also grew. Scott is a supplier to some of the most esteemed wineries on the West Coast, including Betz Family Winery, Long Shadows, and 2019 AWW Honorary Vintner Chris Gorman of Gorman Winery.
Today Scott still lives in the same house that he bought in 1984, but almost everything else on Red Mountain has changed. He now owns and farms more than 260 estate-grown acres on the AVA, and works both with his father and sons to run the operation.
STEPHEN D TANZER, Vinous Media
Stephen D. Tanzer was the founder and publisher of the critically acclaimed International Wine Cellar, an independent journal read by wine professionals and other wine lovers in all 50 states and 34 countries. Each bimonthly issue featured tasting notes on more than 1,500 new wines. The IWC was the first American wine publication to be translated into French and Japanese editions.
In late 2014, after more than 30 years of continuous publication, Tanzer sold the IWC to Antonio Galloni and Vinous Media. Tanzer joined the new venture as a partner and editor-in-chief and, among his other regions of responsibility, continues to cover Washington State wines on the Vinous site.
Tanzer has also served as senior editor and wine columnist for Food & Wine magazine and wrote Food & Wine's Official Wine Guide in 1998 and 1999. He was also the wine columnist for Forbes FYI during the first five years of that publication’s existence.
His WineAccess Buyer’s Guide (Sterling Publishing), a comprehensive guide to the best wines from around the world, was published in 2006.
“Having extensively tasted new releases from Washington annually for nearly 30 years, I’ve watched the industry totally transform itself as an entire new generation of winemakers has taken over and as the great vineyards of the future have been discovered and exploited, “said Tanzer. “I look forward to celebrating this remarkable progress with the growers, winemakers and thirsty consumers who have made it possible, without a notebook in hand.”
Robert M. Parker, Jr.
W. Phillip Woodward
Chris and Kelly Sparkman
Hedges Family Estate
Chateau Ste. Michelle
Bob Betz, MW
Women in Wine
Mike & Gary Hogue
Dick and Wendy Shaw
Dr. Wade Wolfe
Bill Den Hoed
Mike & Gary Hogue
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The Auction of Washington Wines is committed to supporting the growth and awareness of the Washington state wine industry through a series of celebrated events.