Joseph Czarny has been named winemaker at Canvasback and Greenwing, two Washington brands of Napa Valley’s Duckhorn Vineyards. Czarny, who previously worked as assistant winemaker at Canvasback, takes over from Brian Rudin, who becomes winemaker at Walla Walla Valley’s Echolands.
“Working alongside founding winemaker Brian Rudin, Joe has played a key role in the evolution of both Canvasback and Greenwing,” says Duckhorn CEO Alex Ryan. “While Joseph has made wine all over the world, Washington is where he fell in love with wine and winemaking, which makes him the ideal choice to lead Canvasback into the future.”
Czarny grew up in Arizona and moved to Washington in 2013 to attend the enology and viticulture program at Walla Walla Community College. (Full disclosure: I am an adjunct instructor at the College.) He subsequently worked harvests in the northern and southern hemispheres, including Forgeron Cellars (Walla Walla Valley), Domaine Serene (Willamette Valley), Vidal Estate (New Zealand), Lambert Estate (Australia), and Rooster Hill (Finger Lakes).
In 2018, Czarny returned to Walla Walla Valley and worked at Canvasback as a harvest intern. He was subsequently promoted to production assistant then enologist, assistant winemaker, and now winemaker. Czarny was Rudin’s hand-picked successor.
Rudin meanwhile, after serving as Canvasback’s founding winemaker since 2014, moves to Echolands. Echolands was founded in 2018 by MS/MW Doug Frost and businessman Brad Bergman.
“For me, half of the allure was to work with Doug Frost,” Rudin says. “Doug is a master of talking up [to people] about wine rather than talking at or talking down.”
Echolands has a 25-acre estate vineyard named Taggart planted in the SeVein project. The vineyard is currently fifth leaf. Echolands also owns 350 acres in the Upper Mill Creek area of Walla Walla Valley. The winery is currently building a production facility and tasting room there that is slated to open next spring. Planting will begin at the Upper Mill Creek site in 2024.
Born in Costa Rica, Rudin grew up in Wenatchee, Washington and graduated from Western Washington University. After briefly living in Costa Rica, he returned to the U.S. with the intention of going to law school. Fate had a different plan, however, as Rudin was turned on to wine while working at The Edgewater restaurant in Seattle.
“It was like electrifying,” Rudin says of his introduction to the subject.
Rudin travelled to Walla Walla in 2005 and was taken by the town’s blossoming wine scene. In 2006, he moved to the valley to start at Walla Walla Community College’s nascent viticulture and enology program. (The program was founded in 2000.)
“I totally forgot about law school. I totally forgot about everything, and I moved to Walla Walla to get my foot in the door,” Rudin says.
In Walla Walla, Rudin both earned a degree from the college and became a certified sommelier. He not only found his calling in the valley, he also met his wife, winemaker Ashley Trout (Brook & Bull, Vital).
“It was the best move I’ve ever made in my life,” Rudin says.
While in Walla Walla, Rudin interned at L’Ecole No. 41. After graduating, he worked as production manager for Alder Ridge Vineyard and Zefina Winery in the Horse Heaven Hills. In 2008, he joined Middleton Family Wines as assistant winemaker for the winery’s Cadaretta and Buried Cane brands. He was subsequently promoted to winemaker.
Now Rudin will play a primary role in the construction of a new winery, planting of a vineyard, and establishing the Echolands brand. Rudin leaves Canvasback, meanwhile, having built production from 2,000 cases when he started to over 50,000 cases across the Canvasback and Greenwing portfolios today.
“It was an amazing time in my life,” Rudin says. “I got to work with some of the best and smartest people in the wine business.”
Rudin started at Echolands July 1st. He takes over from winemaker Taylor Oswald.
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