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Brian Carter Cellars
March 29, 2021 | Brian Carter Cellars

Brian Carter wins 2020 Grand Vin Award

The Washington Winegrowers Association has honored longtime Washington winemaker, Brian Carter with the 2020 Grand Vin Award.  

Carter was presented with this prestigious award by Robert Takahashi, Brian Carter Cellars second in command, for the impact and contributions he has made to the Washington wine industry during the past 41 years.  Linn Scott, Chairman of the Wine Research Advisory Committee, Mark Wheeler MD, former Chairman of the Washington Wine Industry Foundation and Dr. Thomas Henick-Kling, Director of Viticulture & Enology Program at WSU came to Woodinville to surprise Carter at his winery with the honor. 

Henick-Kling noted that “Carter has been involved in research, education and has set the example for so many winemakers in the state.”  Grape grower Dr. Mark Wheeler said of Carter “the three words that best define Carter’s career are artistry, generosity and friendship.”

Brian serves on the Wine Research Advisory Committee where for over 30 years he has helped steer the research programs at WSU and is also a current board member of the Washington Wine Industry Foundation where he serves on the Sustainability Committee.

He is also a long-standing member of the Foundation Block Advisory Committee which has the essential role of keeping the states vines clean from disease.  Perhaps most significant, he has been involved in the winemaking at dozens of Washington Wineries over his long tenure in the state.

In addition to twice named Winemaker of the Year by Washington Magazine, three-time winner of the Grand Prize at the Seattle Enological Society, and Winery of the year in 2015 by Wine Press Northwest, Brian is most proud of what he feels are individual awards that center on how he has personally contributed to the industry, in addition to the Grand Vin Award:

  • 2007 Honored Vintner at the Washington State Auction of Washington Wines
  • 2004 Industry Service Award given by the Washington Wine Grape Growers
  • 1996 Alec Bayless Prize awarded by the Washington Wine Commission

“I am deeply honored to be chosen by my peers in the Washington Wine Industry for this prestigious prize. I continue to believe in giving back to an industry who has given so much to me. It has been so rewarding to see the Washington Wine Industry grow from what was once a backwater to a big player in the world of wine.”

The Washington Winegrowers Association serves as the synergistic leader and unifying voice – through advocacy and education – for growers, vintners, partners, and policymakers.


Time Posted: Mar 29, 2021 at 9:00 AM Permalink to Brian Carter wins 2020 Grand Vin Award Permalink
Rick Montgomery
March 1, 2021 | Rick Montgomery

A Trip To Italy

Few places in the world capture the global imagination of travel more than the central Italian province of Tuscany.

A trip to Italy – especially if it’s a first one – is not complete without a visit to the great city of Florence, the birthplace of the Renaissance, and the breathtaking hill towns that dot the rolling countryside all the way south to Tuscany’s other great city of Siena. 

When it comes to wine, everything is held together in Tuscany by the great indigenous grape of Sangiovese. For hundreds of years the ancient blend of Chianti was the law of the land until a powerful Tuscan count named Antinori went against the tide to import and grow French grapes. The new blend of Sangiovese with Bordeaux varietals, became known as “Super Tuscan.”

Having become a fan of Super Tuscans during my 13 years in Italy, I was both relieved and amazed to discover that Brian Carter’s Tuttorosso perfectly captures the essence of Super Tuscan wine at a price point that is unbeatable. I love that Brian, like Count Antinori before him, also broke from tradition by adding the Southern Rhone grape of Syrah to the mix! 

Brian has also made a 100% Sangiovese for his “One” series of wine. His spectacular 2015 Sangiovese transports me directly to Tuscany every time I taste it. 

Even though it might be too soon to travel, it’s never too soon to plan a trip! I recommend flying into Florence and traveling one way south to Rome. It’s just 2.5 hours on the main highway between these two great cities so what I love to do is book an Airbnb or Vrbo in the middle of it all, perhaps somewhere near Montepulciano, and then take “hub and spoke” trips all over the place. 

You can buy olive oil where Pavarotti bought it on Lake Trasimeno, climb the towers of San Gimignano and taste the way Sangiovese took to the different soils of this volcanic landscape, including the Nobile di Montepulciano or the Brunello di Montalcino.

For those of you who want to travel off the path, be sure to make your way to lesser traveled Northeast Tuscany where you can visit Saint Francis’s hallowed “La Verna” and pop into the very house where Michelangelo was born.

For more wine travel ideas, email me at

Buon viaggio!


Rick Montgomery

General Manager at Brian Carter Cellars Tasting Room and Wine Bar

On the New Vancouver Waterfront

660 Waterfront Way

Vancouver, WA. 98660


Time Posted: Mar 1, 2021 at 10:35 AM Permalink to A Trip To Italy Permalink