About the Winery
James Rahn began his wine career as a hospitality professional working as a waiter at the revered Café Campagne in Seattle. It was there that sommelier Shawn Mead took James under his wing. James developed his love of wine and returned home to Chicago for his first sommelier position at Café Matou. Over the next several years, James would hone his craft as a wine professional. He moved on as Wine Director for the opening of Girl and the Goat with Chef Stephanie Izard, a James Beard Foundation Award winner and the first female chef to take home top honors on Bravo’s Top Chef. During his time at Girl and the Goat, James had his first foray into winemaking, partnering with a Walla Walla winery to produce a house cuvée for the restaurant. It wasn’t long before the winemaking bug bit James and in 2012 he and his wife would move to Portland, Oregon to work as an intern with Luisa Ponzi, owner and winemaker of the iconic Ponzi Vineyards. In 2013 James contacted Janie Brooks, owner of the eponymous Brooks Winery, to purchase 500 lbs. of Riesling, a grape that Brooks specializes in growing. Following the phone-call he would end up with 2.4 tons of fruit… James Rahn Wine Company was born!
Over the next several vintages, James chose to focus on eclectic varieties from vineyards throughout Oregon including Gamay, Pinot Meunier, Trousseau, Mondeuse, Grüner Veltliner, and Pinot Gris. While James maintains a love for Pinot Noir, the classic variety of Oregon and the Willamette Valley, his ability to find artisans focused on unique varieties farmed with craft and care translates directly into the aesthetic James achieves with each bottling. As he puts it, “Initially, I felt like my labels and my ‘off’ varieties would allow me to have more fun. Now the wines stand on their own.” As for the labels, James and artist/collaborator Brian Morgan focus on whimsical, humorous images of human-powered movement. Each unique design represents something personal for James while telling the story within the bottle. James Rahn Wine Company offers not just wines, but a narrative rarely found in the Pacific Northwest. One that redefines the varieties of a region often seen as monolithic. They are true expressions of place, made with intention and honesty. We hope you find them to be as unique and delicious as we do.