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A brief history

To create wines that are as complex as they are captivating, Canvasback is following the model established decades ago by Duckhorn Vineyards, and will ultimately combine grapes from top growers with fruit from Canvasback’s own estate vineyard.

The Canvasback team has already established great relationships with the growers who farm some of the appellation’s most esteemed vineyards, including Klipsun, La Coye, Shaw and Quintessence. In 2013, Canvasback put down roots on Red Mountain when it acquired a 20-acre unplanted vineyard site. Located near the top of the mountain, above the frost zone at an elevation of approximately 1,100 to 1,300 feet, the site was widely recognized as the most coveted uncultivated site of the mountain. Guided by Washington winegrowing legend and Canvasback vineyard manager Dick Boushey, and founding winemaker Brian Rudin, Canvasback began planting its Red Mountain vineyard predominantly to Cabernet Sauvignon in 2014.

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.”

The name Canvasback was chosen in keeping with Duckhorn Wine Company’s waterfowl tradition. The Canvasback duck is native to the Pacific Flyway, with breeding grounds in Washington State.
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1825 J B George Rd
United States, Washington


Meet The Team

  • 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.”

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