Established in 2005 by winemaker Darby English, Darby Winery produces wines with power and finesse. The vineyards sourced with are some of the best in the state and the wines have received national acclaim in only a few years. Darby’s approach to winemaking includes high quality French oak, meticulous work in the cellar, controlled growth, and a spotlight on some of Washington’s greatest grapes.
Darby English is a Seattle native who began making wine in 2001 in the basement of an old farmhouse. After claiming that his first experimental vintage “sucked” due to the quality of the fruit, Darby learned a lot and his mission quickly turned to seeking out the very best vineyards Washington had to offer.
In 2002, Darby started a relationship with a vineyard in Walla Walla, holding one of the most well-known names. Once he had the chance to work with super premium fruit, he knew that winemaking was what he wanted to do. He quickly “sold out” of wines to friends and family, and they eagerly asked for more.
In 2005, Darby Winery went commercial with 200 cases of syrah, made in just eight barrels. In 2007, the winery outgrew the barn and moved production to Woodinville’s now-saturated warehouse district. The tasting room opened that summer, releasing the 2005 Syrah and 2006 Viognier/Roussanne. Everything sold out quickly, and controlled growth of the winery has taken place since. Darby Winery grew a strong reputation with consumers and vineyard owners alike early on.
Darby English continues his mission to work for specific sites with the right soil, clones, heat and sun. He works with some of the best vineyards in the state – Stonetree, Connor Lee, Stillwater Creek, Discovery, Dineen. Once the grapes are picked, his winemaking approach is truly minimalist, which includes native fermentation. Darby also knows to treat each vintage and varietal differently, adapting fermentation and barrel choices to the fruit in hand. And quality fruit deserves quality oak. The winery purchases some of the best french oak to increase complexity and flavor of the wines. Most see 18-20 months in barrel. Whites get partial barrel fermentation and are then aged in stainless. Darby Winery currently produces between 3500 and 4000 cases total each year.
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