Peter Devison is living his dream. After years as a winemaker for several well-known wineries, he now crafts wine under his own eponymous label in Walla Walla. The entire lineup at Devison Vintners rocks. From a gorgeous Sauvignon Blanc to Rhône-style reds to a Rocks District beauty, Peter makes impressive wines that display artistry, in addition to science. During our recent trip to Walla Walla, we visited Peter and his lovely wife Kelsey in their newly opened tasting room. Read on for more details.
The Devison Story
Peter Devison was the head winemaker at EFESTE and Cadaretta, after working at Vin du Lac, Tsillan Cellars, Waterbrook, Precept, Willow Crest and Alder Ridge Wines for the past 15 years. We first met him 10 years ago, when he joined EFESTE, where I had been helping out with their social media strategy. (We connected because we both are from Canada, in addition to our love of wine.)
Previously, Peter completed wine certification courses in my hometown of Vancouver, and then enrolled in school in Christchurch, New Zealand to study enology. Over the years, he won many accolades for his unique approach to winemaking. He also started his own consulting business focusing on native fermentation.
Meanwhile, his friendly wife Kelsey has also been involved in the wine industry for years. One of the first students at the Northwest Wine Academy in Seattle, she quickly moved into and excelled at a career in wine sales, marketing and importing.
Peter told us that while he makes the wine, Kelsey operates the business. We spent a delightful morning with both of them, catching up and tasting beautiful wine.
The portfolio of Devison Vintners consists of nine impressive wines. Peter told us the vineyard needs to shine in each bottle, and each wine has to have its own voice and a distinctly different style. We took home four bottles, which are profiled below. But now we are kicking ourselves for not buying all of them! For example, we also admired 2018 Beneath the Stones, showcasing The Rocks District funk with a silky satin structure. And the 2018 Malbec is one of the best in Washington state that we have ever tasted, while 2018 Above the Flood is a wonderful GSM. There’s also 2018 GPR, which stands for Glass Pour Rhône, a trademarked GSM that is bright, light and approachable. And a luscious Cabernet Sauvignon will explode with even more flavors in another year. Notably, compared to other Walla Walla wines, Devison Vintners prices are very reasonable.
Devison Vintners East of the Sun Rosé 2019 ($24)
As the story goes, when Peter and Kelsey got together, she asked him to please make her a rosé that she will like, or she’ll keep drinking rosés from southern France. So that’s what he did. She calls this 2020 vintage a jaw dropper, and he says it’s the best he has made so far. This Provence-style rosé blends 78% Mourvèdre with 22% Grenache. Aromatics of tropical fruits, stone fruits, rhubarb, strawberries and figs lead into flavors of apricots and cherries. This wine brings texture, as well as minerality, salinity, complexity and snappy acidity. The name comes from the colors of the setting sun. And we think this is sunset in a bottle.
Devison Vintners Sauvignon Blanc 2020 ($25)
Peter’s experience in New Zealand makes this 100% Sauvignon Blanc a winner. This crisp, refreshing wine is a natural progression from his vintages with Evergreen Vineyard at EFESTE. From the minute the bottle opened, we knew it was special. Grapefruit aromas flow into flavors of more grapefruit, lemon rinds, oyster shells and tomato leaves, laced with salty minerality. Peter says this wine is too serious to drink cold. Instead, serve it at 54-57 degrees F. This Sauv Blanc pairs perfectly with hot sun on the deck or warm summer nights.
Devison Vintners Crow’s Feet Syrah 2018 ($44)
Crow’s Feet is one thrilling, smooth Syrah sourced from Southwind Vineyard. Planted on fractured basalt soil, Peter says the crumbling, cracking earth deep below in the profile pit is reminiscent of laugh lines, also known as crow’s feet. This 100% Syrah features flavors enhanced from 100% native fermentation in concrete. As a result, a pretty nose of dark and red fruit leads into earthy and savory notes, layered with dark fruit, anise, black olives and smoked meat flavors. Decant this Syrah for a few hours, or cellar it for a few years.
Devison Vintners Phantom Lamb Syrah 2018 ($54)
We adored this 100% Syrah. Well, we adore all of Peter’s Syrahs, but this one is different than any of those currently in our cellar. And that’s why we brought it home. It opens with aromas of dark fruit, flint, olives, black pepper and smoked meat. Next, the flavors mirror the nose. Dark fruit, black olives and to my surprise, flavors of Amaro, my favorite apéritif. Moreover, this Syrah is silky, textured and plush. A classic.
In conclusion, keep your eye out for Devison Vintners wines. They range from refreshing to stunning, from classic to unique. We’ve known Peter for ten years and are so happy to see he has landed where he should be – making his namesake standout wines that shine in every bottle. We highly recommend this entire lineup.
Margot and Dave