Avennia Wine

Marty Taucher and Chris Peterson blending wine trials at Avennia Wine in Woodinville, Wash.

WOODINVILLE, Wash. — Winemaker Chris Peterson tells people that the success of this venture — which began in 2010 — is the result of two people with complementary skills who met at a fortuitous time.

Chris had the winemaking skills, after many years working at DeLille Cellars. He started the Avennia project with Marty Taucher, a local executive who wanted to branch out into the wine trade.

Andrew Bradshaw, who joined the operation in 2016 to open and operate their tasting room and become manager of retail operations and services, says the two partners had a similar vision.

Marty graduated from Oregon State University in 1977 and started working at Microsoft in 1984. He led their public relations and event marketing teams for 10 years and his work involved a lot of travel around the world. During those travels, his interest in wine and winemaking grew. He still enjoys seeking out new vintners and wine styles from all over the world.

Following his passion, he took classes at South Seattle Community College and graduated with a degree in wine. In 2009, he became a crush intern at DeLille Cellars, where he met Chris.

Chris graduated from the University of Washington, and then became the first graduate of Walla Walla Community College’s Enology and Viticulture program. Later he taught classes on wines of the world.

Chris has traveled to all the major wine growing regions of France, Tuscany and Sicily where regional wine, vineyard tours and relationships with other winemakers inspired his winemaking practices.

Eventually, he worked at DeLille Cellars at Woodinville and spent seven years helping make some of Washington state’s most heralded and award-winning wines.

After he and Marty met, they laid the foundation for Avennia. When Marty asked Chris to review his draft winery business plan in 2009, it coincided with Chris’ desire to start a new chapter in his own winemaking career.

They chose the name Avennia for their new winery, the Latin name for the city of Avignon in southern France. Chris has always admired French wines and their balance between fruit and non-fruit character. He envisioned making Washington wines that portrayed this balance, yet still remain unmistakably Washington.

Their respective strengths and experiences enabled them to forge an effective partnership, with their passionate commitment to signature vineyards and natural processes in the cellar, resulting in timeless world-class wines.

With support and input from Chris’ wife Lauren, and Marty’s wife Colleen, Avennia became a reality. By the end of 2010, 16 tons of fruit were transformed into wine (released in 2012) and they had relationships in place with some of the state’s best growers, to secure the best fruit in the region for future vintages.

“Avennia is very consistent in where we source our fruit, and the cellar has minimal intervention,” Andrew said. “When I came on board we were still in the production stage and only open to the public on weekends.”

Their business has evolved and grown, and their wines have received many awards.

“Some people have been customers and members ever since we started. Our wine has received great press and we receive recommendations from other wineries in Woodinville. Word of mouth has been one of the greatest ways that people find out about our wines,” Andrew said.

The team at Avennia has grown. John Sigmar is Chris’ right-hand man at the winery and runs the daily production operations. He developed a love of wine while traveling through Europe. John is a 2015 graduate of the Walla Walla Community College Winemaking program and for several years worked at Dunham Cellars.

Jared Schmick joined the Avennia team in 2019 as a harvest intern and became a full-time cellar hand. He is a 2017 graduate of WSU, where he studied viticulture and enology. Jared has traveled the world, beginning with a one-year stint in New Zealand visiting vineyards and cellars — where he developed an appreciation for the balance between science and art in winemaking.

With great sources and a great team, Avennia is fast becoming well-known in the world of Washington wines.

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