Winemaker - Brian Rudin
Brian Rudin is the winemaker for Canvasback and one of the emerging stars of Washington wine. He practices a vineyard-focused approach, working closely with Canvasback’s renowned growers to cultivate grapes that capture a richly complex and compelling style. In partnership with legendary vineyard manager Dick Boushey, Brian also guides the evolution of Canvasback’s Longwinds Estate Vineyard.
Growing up in the Wenatchee, Brian witnessed the emergence of the Washington wine industry as he watched vineyards planted throughout the region. “There was a sense of excitement early on that our region was capable of producing world-class wines,” says Brian. After graduating from Western Washington University, Brian took a job at the Six Seven Restaurant in Seattle, where he won a trip to wine country. “In Napa Valley, I saw the finest expression of the American wine industry. It gave me a sense for the limitless potential in Washington State.”
Brian began studying to be a sommelier, and soon joined several tasting groups. As his knowledge grew, so did his determination to make wine. He moved to Walla Walla to study at the Institute of Enology and Viticulture. While earning his degree, Brian became a certified sommelier. He also gained hands-on winemaking experience at L’Ecole No 41, where he worked with Cabernet from Red Mountain. After graduation, Brian served as the production manager for Alder Ridge Vineyard and Zefina Winery.
In 2008, Brian joined the team at Middleton Family Wines as the assistant winemaker for Cadaretta and Buried Cane. Brian was promoted to winemaker and during his four years there he expanded the Cadaretta and Buried Cane vineyard programs to include top sites on Red Mountain.
In 2013, Brian was selected as the winemaker for Canvasback. “For a Washington winemaker who loves viticulture, this is a dream job,” says Brian. “My role is to make a terroir-driven wine from one of the finest Cabernet winegrowing regions on earth. I’ve been given all the tools: one of the finest vineyard sites on the mountain, the ability to establish an Estate vineyard from scratch, and access to the finest winegrowing partners in the region.”
Home to some of Washington State’s most celebrated vineyards, Red Mountain is renowned for Cabernet Sauvignon. With ideal southwest-facing slopes and significant day and nighttime temperature swings, this small but highly prized area in Eastern Washington produces exceptional wines. Named for the Canvasback duck, which is native to the Pacific Flyway, the wines are crafted from grapes cultivated by some of Red Mountain’s finest growers. With Canvasback, our aim is to express and develop the depth, structure and sophistication that define wines from this young and exciting appellation.
Committed to Quality
In both the vineyard and winery, Brian embraces the challenge of making a richly compelling wine that shows the complexity and structure of great Red Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon. “Red Mountain is one of the best places on earth to grow Cabernet,” says Brian. “The desert environment, with its long days, cold nights and mineral-rich soils produce epic Cabernet Sauvignons.
Additionally, because Red Mountain receives only about 6 inches of rain a year, the viticulture can be finely tuned, contributing to the intense, uncommon character of the wines. “As a Washington winemaker,” adds Brian, “planting a vineyard from scratch, in what is widely recognized as the grand cru portion of Red Mountain, is a dream come true.”