Chris Peterson

Chris Peterson, winemaker and partner at Avennia in Woodinville, pours wine into the glass of a customer at Stems in downtown Yakima on Thursday, Nov. 2. (MAI HOANG/Yakima Herald-Republic)

Chris Peterson is winemaker and partner at Avennia, a winery in Woodinville. Peterson, 46, was part of the first graduating class from Walla Walla Community College’s two-year Enology and Viticulture Program. He spent about eight years at DeLille Cellars, also in Woodinville, before starting Avennia with business partner Marty Taucher in 2010.

After graduating from West Valley High School, Peterson headed to the University of Washington, where he majored in the Comparative History of Ideas.

Toward the end of his time at the Seattle university he found a path to his future career: 

During my last quarter at the University of Washington, I studied abroad in France. I saw wine was part of a lifestyle that we just didn’t have in Yakima and not a lot of areas of the country. People had a glass of wine with lunch. There was an aisle full of Bordeaux wine at the grocery store. The wines were not super expensive, but made to be enjoyed with a meal every day.

That got me into wine. I knew we had wineries in Washington. I wanted to learn more. I started to learn more about the leading wineries in Washington, such as DeLille Cellars and Cayuse Winery in Walla Walla. These wineries were doing amazing world class wines. That’s when it got really interesting to me.

• Peterson shares more of his thoughts in the full version of this Reporter's Notebook column which will run later on and in the Monday, Nov. 13 print edition of the Yakima Herald-Republic.