“It’s somewhere between retirement and a job,” Greg Peiker says starting his winery, Quiddity Wines, in Woodinville.

Peiker worked at nearby Microsoft on the operations side of the software business for nearly 20 years. Realizing he was approaching retirement, he started to consider what to do next. Having long been interested in food and wine, Peiker looked into Northwest Wine Academy’s winemaking program and started taking classes in the evening.

“I was encouraged by [NFL quarterback] Russell Wilson’s father when he said, ‘If somebody is going to play in the Super Bowl, Russ, why not you?’” Peiker says of his decision to pursue winemaking.

As he worked his way through the school’s courses and was close to finishing the program, Peiker realized he had a serious problem. He needed to do an internship.

“It hadn’t even occurred to me.”

So he reached out to friend and fellow winemaker William Grassie (William Grassie Wine Estates), who also went through the Northwest Wine Academy program, to ask what he did for his internship. Grassie’s answer would change the course of Peiker’s life.

“He basically said to me, ‘I’ve got a winery and all this equipment I’m not using. Why don’t you, for your internship, go buy grapes, and I will mentor you as you make wine?’”

For his fruit, Peiker looks to Elephant Mountain and Sugarloaf vineyards, two sites in the Rattlesnake Hills appellation. While a number of well-known winemakers source fruit from these vineyards, they are not, as yet, household names the way some local vineyards are. This was a deliberate decision on Peiker’s part.

“If you go to those vineyards, then your wine tastes like everybody else’s wine,” he says. “A little bit different is good.”

To date, Peiker has largely focused on Rhone-style offerings, though he also added a Carménère in the 2019 vintage. Many of the wines are 100% varietal, with no new oak used. Peiker refers to wines from Tablas Creek and Syncline as well as Sparkman’s Wonderland Grenache as inspirations.

“Do I gravitate toward that style because that’s the wine I make, or do I make that wine because it’s a style I like?” Peiker asks rhetorically.

His initial decision to use no new oak was pragmatic but now very much informs the wine style. “I couldn’t afford new oak barrel, so Bill [Grassie] loaned me some neutral oak barrels,” Peiker explains. “Now I’m really happy I made that choice.”

Remarkably, Peiker’s first wines – his internship project – would turn out to be Quiddity’s inaugural releases from the 2018 vintage. When I first tasted them, they were some of the most compelling wines I tried that year. (I will include my Wine Enthusiast reviews for the 2018 and 2019 wines below, some of which are now sold out.) How did Peiker make wines so soulful and with such a strong voice right out of the gate?

“I’ve done a little brewing,” Peiker says. “We also used to do some home winemaking. In high school, my father and I made some terrible fruit wine.”

The Quiddity wines all have names that are “core elements of kind of a well-lived life.” For example, Audentes: daring, venturing, risking. Meliora: always better, or for the pursuit of the better. Cur Non: an ode to Russell Wilson’s father’s ‘Why not?’

And the winery name? Peiker thought through places and people and other things that were significant to him, but nothing seemed quite right. Then a word appeared on his phone from a ‘Word of the Day’ app. Quiddity: the inherent nature or essence of someone or something.

“I was like ‘That’s it! Boom! Done.’”

Having now retired from Microsoft, Peiker opened the Quiddity tasting room in Woodinville’s Warehouse District in August of 2020. While he says he has newfound respect for small businesses where owners must do essentially everything, he also finds the work rewarding.

“Sometimes I’m in the tasting room, and it’s a really slow day. Then, an hour before closing, a family comes in, and they are completely into the wines. They start ranting and raving. It makes my whole week.”

Those rants and raves are apt. So is the winery’s name.

Quiddity is easily one of the most exciting new wineries to open in Washington in recent years. The winery’s reds are exquisitely made. (As with most wineries starting out, the whites are a work in progress). The lack of new oak makes them vivid and achingly pure. There’s ripeness to the fruit, but there is balance as well. All are micro-produced at about 100 cases or less, with the winery moving from 500 cases in 2018 up to 1,000 cases in 2022. Line-priced at $35, they are all exceptional values given the level of quality.

Of course, it’s one thing to make a great set of inaugural releases under a watchful eye. It’s another to follow that up with high quality wines year after year. However, the first three vintages for Quiddity have shown consistently high quality and have been a complete delight.

In short, the Quiddity wines are Washington Rhone-style wines at their essence, with a voice all their own. Why not indeed?




At Northwest Wine Report, all scores come from blind tastings in varietal/style sets. Read more about this site’s process for rating and reviewing wines. Read about the Northwest Wine Report rating system and special designations. Read about how to interpret scores.

Quiddity 2020 Audentes Syrah Rattlesnake Hills $35 

93, Critic’s Choice

Quiddity has had some of the most exciting inaugural releases in the state in recent years. This follow-up shows the winery is far from a one or two vintage wonder. The aromas are action-packed, with notes of blueberry, boysenberry, herb, and plum – a cornucopia of fruit. The palate explodes with piercingly pure blue and black fruit flavors. The finish sails off into the distance. It’s outrageously good and provides value in the extreme. 14.9% alcohol. 97 cases produced. TCA-free microagglomerative cork.

Quiddity 2020 Audentes Syrah Block 14 Rattlesnake Hills $35 

93, Critic’s Choice
 The aromas erupt from the glass, with notes of fresh herb, black pepper, grape concentrate, and thistle. Focused, rich, pure dark fruit flavors follow. They linger on the spectacularly long finish. The purity is dazzling on an overall outrageously delicious wine. 14.6% alcohol. 44 cases produced. TCA free microagglomerative cork.

Quiddity 2020 Amore Red Blend Columbia Valley $35 
91, Critic’s Choice 

Syrah makes up 63% of this blend, with the rest Mourvèdre (21%) and Grenache. The aromas are quiet initially, with notes of barrel spice and cigar box, opening to reveal raspberry, blueberry, and herb. Full-feeling flavors follow, showing richness and levity. It’s tasty. 15% alcohol. 122 cases produced. TCA-free microagglomerative cork.

Quiddity 2020 Sapit Carménère Columbia Valley $35 

91 points, Critic’s Choice 

Carménère can at times be a green and mean grape. This is not that. Aromas of black currant, brambleberry, bell pepper, and sunbaked herbs lead to well-balanced, plump dark fruit flavors. There’s a lot of polish, class, and purity. Fans of this variety take note. 14.4% alcohol. 75 cases produced. TCA-free microagglomerative cork.

Quiddity 2020 Ubuntu Grenache Rattlesnake Hills $35 

90 points 

Aromas of red hard candy, gummy, and herb lead to medium-bodied, lightly creamy-feeling red fruit flavors. It’s a very pretty offering of the variety with undeniable appeal. 14.7% alcohol. 75 cases produced. TCA-free microagglomerative cork.

Quiddity 2020 Cur Non Mourvèdre Columbia Valley $35 

88 points 

Pale in color, the aromas are restrained, with notes of red fruit, fresh herb, and campfire. The palate is light and elegant, with smoky notes threaded throughout, getting stronger on the finish. The smoke unfortunately causes significant distraction on an otherwise lovely wine. 14.7% alcohol. 62 cases produced. TCA-free microagglomerative cork.

The reviews below are from my time as a contributing editor at Wine Enthusiast, with links to the full reviews.

Quiddity 2019 Ubuntu Grenache Rattlesnake Hills $35 

92 points, Editor’s Choice

Quiddity 2019 Sapit Carménère Columbia Valley $35 

92 points, Editor’s Choice

Quiddity 2019 Meliora Red Columbia Valley $35 

92 points, Editor’s Choice

Quiddity 2019 Audentes Syrah Rattlesnake Hills $35 

91 points, Editor’s Choice

Quiddity 2019 Assuidity Counoise Rattlesnake Hills $35 

91 points, Editor’s Choice

Quiddity 2018 Amore Red Columbia Valley $35 

92 points, Editor’s Choice

Quiddity 2018 Audentes Syrah Rattlesnake Hills $35 
92 points, Editor’s Choice

Quiddity 2018 Ubuntu Grenache Rattlesnake Hills $35 

93 points, Editor’s Choice

Quiddity 2018 Cur Non Mourvèdre Columbia Valley $35 

93 points, Editor’s Choice

Quiddity 2020 Rhathymia Roussanne Rattlesnake Hills $25 

88 points

Quiddity 2021 Rhathymia Roussanne Rattlesnake Hills $25 
Images courtesy of Quiddity Wines.