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(Image: Kara Mercer)

Introducing Jaine: The first WA winery to focus solely on rose, sparkling & white wines

Jaine, the latest brand from one of Washington’s most celebrated and loved vintners, Matthews, describes itself as ‘a love letter to Washington State’.

Jaine was really born out of celebration, with the spirit of the Otis family’s mother and grandmother - Mary Jane Powell, at the heart of it. It is an ode to the family’s matriarch and everything she valued and cherished.

“She loved champagne. Loved. Anytime there was champagne, it was a celebration," said proprietor Bran Otis about his grandmother. "She was always one to both host family and friends for dinner, and at the same time, was a cowgirl who could adventure around Friday Harbor and Othello with my grandfather Jack.”

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Launched earlier this year, the timing is pretty sweet too. In a double whammy - we’re just stepping into glorious summertime and stepping out after months spent in social Siberia. This in itself, is cause for celebration.

“In many ways, Jaine told us she was ready to start and not the other way around. Wines have become part of the weekly fabric of what people are doing at home, and now as the world opens back up, it’s been very special to see how much people want to celebrate with their family, or small group of friends. We felt it was a perfect time to start something new,” said Otis.

The brand solely focuses on white wines, rose and sparkling, the first in Washington State to do so. The first releases include Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc, and Rosé. But more than just wine, Jaine is about a carefree, indulgent lifestyle. Their carefully curated Instagram aesthetic will have you hankering for a romp at the beach, hanging out with your girlfriends, or a simple picnic. That summarizes the essence of what Jaine offers, and what the Otis family’s matriarch Mary Jane embodied - finding great joy in the simplest of everyday experiences and gatherings.

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Besides grandmother Jane, who was the inspiration behind the label, there are a bunch of strong, spirited, and sassy women that keep the brand running smoothly on a day-to-day basis.

“Wow, we really do have a team of incredible women. First, my Mom, Diane Otis, who is at the winery pretty much every day, and is largely responsible for it staying together. Then, Chloe, who really helps with the brand vibe through her keen design eye, and incredible friends via Gather. Lauren Ledbetter, the graphic designer, Kara Mercer, who is in charge of photography and video, Teressa Johnson who helps with florals, Leah Bobson, Erin Edmonds, and Maddy Tucker, who are on our marketing team, Averyl and Stephanie at the Washington Wine Commission, who have helped with some great industry connections, Summer who is at Shore, who helped develop the entire brand strategy, Caitlin Agnew, our first Cottage Reserve artist collab the list keeps going. I’m really the charlie of Charlie’s Angels. Most of the time, I just show up to meetings and say yes, yes, yes. I love it!”

The brand inception and execution have been an organic process for Otis. The label has a strong sense of identity, with an equally compelling story and product line to match.

“Once I wrote the name ‘Jaine’ on a piece of paper, it was almost like the brand came to life and started telling me what to do. Jaine really came together quickly and organically. I’ve never really seen something happen that fast, and easy. It’s been a dream,” Otis mused.

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Jaine is for someone who enjoys fresh, vibrant, vineyard-specific wines. The brand is also about celebrating white wine all year round, and not just tout it as a warm-weather sipper. In that sense, the brand also has its niche really carved out. The wines might have a fresh, laidback vibe but winemaking is very serious business at Jaine, from hard-harvesting the fruit to minimal intervention techniques to showcasing the true character of single-vineyard bottlings. The result is aromatic, fruity, and elegant wine - with lots of personality.

Great white wines start in the vineyard, and every step of the winemaking process is carefully handled at Jaine.

“We watch the wines every step of the way, from when the harvest picking starts (typically very early in the morning), to the delicate way the grapes are handled inside the winery, to the careful fermentation inside either concrete, oak, or stainless steel. Selecting the right site, and the right style to showcase the site is where the great white wines of the world separate themselves. The wines are bright, crisp, fresh, full of life. Something you want to share. We really want each wine to have its own personality, but for the Jaine fan to be able to move between the wines with a sense of familiarity.”

So how is Jaine different from Matthews as a brand, and in terms of the wine that both labels sell?

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“Matthews wines are really in celebration of farm-to-table, family-style food with the highest quality Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc grapes. We do make some Sauvignon Blanc with Matthews, and the style is slightly, just ever so slightly richer on the palate than our inaugural Jaine Sauvignon Blanc release. Matthews and Jaine are very much brand cousins, in a way that both brands do celebrate food, family, friends, and wonderful Washington State vineyards. Over time, as we develop some reserve-level Jaine wines to compliment our inaugural release, we feel like a fan of Matthews will also be a fan of Jaine,” said Otis

So does Otis have a favorite wine from Jaine’s portfolio?

“Sauvignon Blanc paired with simple roasted chicken, brown rice, and roasted veggies. Simple. Clean. Fresh. “

Just 20 minutes away from Seattle, Jaine’s cozy cottage tasting room in Woodinville is like a faraway, beachside escape. As things are opening up, it might be just the perfect summer excursion. It is a sweet old house, remodeled in the spirit of a cottage. “It feels very lived in, so to speak, so when people come to join, they feel almost like they are crashing at someone vacation house.”