During this time, I worked quietly on my own wine project, back in 2000 while at Chateau Ste. Michelle, I felt compelled to do something where I had a little more latitude to pursue my own ideas. I had always wanted to work with Red Mountain fruit, not an option at CSM back in the 1990’s as CSM wasn't sourcing any fruit from any Red Mountain vineyards in those days. In a selfish sense I also wanted to do something that was exclusively me. Another element of inspiration came from wanting to show that Washington wines are wonderfully ageworthy. Early on during this venture, a common criticism of Washington wines was that they didn't age well. So part of my vision was to create wines from Washington that were worthy of aging. Thus the idea of holding wines for an extended period before release.
The name for this project comes from my parents. I named the winery Lawrelin (pronounced ‘Lor-relin’), being a combination of the names of my parents, Lawrence and Elinor. They gave me my start, encouraged me to follow my interest to California, and have always been completely supportive. I wanted to dedicate this project to them.
I began in 2000, sourcing Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah from Kiona Vineyard. Then in 2001, added Sundance Vineyard Cabernet and Clifton Vineyard Syrah to the program. Having the advantage of seeing fruit from all over the state within the CSM program, I was able to be very selective in choosing which growers I wanted to work with. In 2002, I added Alder Ridge Vineyard to the program with both Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec, and also Cabernet Sauvignon from Weinbau vineyard. I believe that the concentration and structure of Red Mountain, compliments the rich black fruit from the Wahluke Slope and finesse and elegance of the Horse Heaven Hills.
Intended as a side project, I want to keep production low. I have never felt compelled to grow this into a big project. Keeping it small seems like the easiest way for me to maintain the freedom to follow my own desires.