Winemaker Brian Rudin

One of the emerging stars of Washington winemaking, Brian Rudin is the founding winemaker for Canvasback. Brian practices a vineyard-focused approach to making wine, 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 farming of Canvasback’s 20-acre Longwinds Estate Vineyard on Red Mountain.

Growing up in the farming community of Wenatchee, Brian witnessed the emergence of the Washington wine industry as he watched vineyards planted throughout the region. “There was a sense of excitement even early on that our region was capable of producing world-class wines,” says Brian. “It was a powerful epiphany for me, and something I wanted to be a part of.”

After graduating from Western Washington University, Brian took a job at the acclaimed Six Seven Restaurant at Seattle’s Edgewater Hotel, where he won a trip to Napa Valley as the restaurant’s top wine salesperson. “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.”

To refine his palate, Brian began studying to be a sommelier, and soon joined several sommelier 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, where he was mentored by pioneering Washington viticulturist Stan Clarke. “Stan taught me to love viticulture, which has profoundly shaped my path as a winemaker.” While earning his degree in enology and viticulture, Brian became a certified sommelier. He also gained invaluable hands-on winemaking experience at L’Ecole No 41, where he started working with Cabernet Sauvignon 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 both Cadaretta, and Buried Cane, where he played a key role in the development of a 330-acre site on the north slope of Walla Walla Valley. Brian was soon promoted to winemaker for Middleton Family Wines, and during his four years in this role, he expanded the Cadaretta, and Buried Cane vineyard programs to include top sites on Red Mountain.

In 2014, Brian was selected as the founding winemaker for the Duckhorn Portfolio’s Canvasback. “For a Washington winemaker who loves viticulture, this is a dream job,” says Brian. “My role is to make a great terroir-driven wine from one of the finest Cabernet Sauvignon winegrowing regions on earth. I’ve been given all the tools, including the ability to establish our Longwinds Estate Vineyard from scratch, and access to the finest winegrowing partners on the mountain.”

  • Winemaker, Brian Rudin