Beneath the totem pole at Civic Center Plaza, a beaming display of bottles from Seabeck Cellars twinkle in the sunlight. The rainbow of colors and textures capture the light like suncatchers as guests sample the handcrafted wines, exchanging reflections with the winemaker directly.
Most market-goers have likely enjoyed a conversation with Scott Rants, one of the owners and winemakers situated at the booth in Sequim each Saturday.
However, back at home, Seabeck Cellars is truly a team effort.
Working alongside his parents Lynda and Steven, his wife Ravynn and their 1-year-old daughter, Saoirse Aonani, Scott says that each member of the Rants family plays an integral role in the creation of their fine wines.
“We’re just a small family winery, only four of us,” Scott says. “Everything is hands-on. We like to say that each of us has touched every single bottle of wine.”
Based in Seabeck — a small, picturesque community on the Hood Canal — Seabeck Cellars is now crafting its eighth vintage. With a steady increase in volume and variety over time, they currently produce about 600 cases a year.
The line features an astounding variety including whites, reds, rosés, sparkling and dessert wines.
“We make wines that are sweet, we make wines that are dry,” Scott says. “Some are lighter, some heavier. We make quite a variety because we’re trying to appease a lot of different palates.
“People have a lot of different types of wine that they like. Some of them are pretty unique, not a lot of people are making these styles. That’s something that we don’t shy away from; we don’t mind trying things that are unique or a little different.”
The cellar focuses on high-quality wines from start to finish, utilizing fruit from Red Mountain (American Viticultural Area) in Eastern Washington, a region known for its warmth, low precipitation and sunlight exposure.
“The fruit you start out with really makes a difference in your end product,” Scott says.
The inspiration for the winery first arose when Scott was in high school, and his father began to experiment with home winemaking. Scott says he found the process so intriguing that he was prompted to travel to Italy, where he spent time immersing himself in different wine cultures.
“That’s where I really started to fall in love with wine,” he says.
Scott enrolled in the Viticulture & Enology program at Washington State University. He concluded his studies with an internship at a large-scale vineyard and winery in the Hunter Valley of Australia, just north of Sydney.
“It was pretty cool. Some of the tanks were outside. We’d be out there at night in the pitch black and you could see all the stars,” Scott recalls. “Then you’d be up there on this big four-story tank, filling it up with wine.”
After several years at a small-scale winery on the East Coast, Scott transitioned to the beverage industry in Las Vegas, Nev., where he underwent sommelier training.
While it had long been a dream of the Rants family to open their own winery. The genesis for Seabeck Cellars really occurred when Scott and Ravynn returned to Washington state to visit Lynda and Steven.
It was there, Scott says, over a delicious meal and a few nice bottles of wine that the Rants decided to open their dream winery.
Finding the wine for you
Each Saturday at the farmers market, Scott is on hand to help shoppers find the best bottle of wine for any occasion.
“We’re very approachable,” Scott says. “We’re here to help guide the process.”
In the summer heat, Scott recommends a bottle of Chardonnay or Viognier which, as unoaked styles, pair wonderfully with seafood. He recommends raw or charbroiled oysters on the grill.
For appreciators of a delicious, homemade burger. Scott points to their Malbec, a firmer, full-bodied wine with strong structure, tannins and aromas of violet and berries.
If drinks and appetizers are your thing, Scott says you can’t go wrong with sparkling wine.
“It’s always more fun with bubbles,” he says. “It’s fun, it’s interesting.”
Seabeck Cellars creates their signature Bloom sparkling white wine with Gewurztraminer grapes. Some may associate this varietal with sweetness, but Scott says it’s more of a dry, lightly aromatic style in this case.
With lychee and pear flavors, Bloom is a pétillant naturel, which translates from French to, “naturally sparkling.” Unfiltered with a brilliant hazy texture, this style of wine is bottled in the initial fermentation, allowing the sugar from the grapes to produce bubbles naturally.
“It’s a beautiful wine,” Scott says. “You can serve it at your soiree with stuffed mushrooms, cheese, olives, and fresh bread.”
Scott says he enjoys the process of connecting with shoppers and helping them find their perfect beverage at the farmers market.
“I just want people to know the feeling of being with their friends, having some great food, and really enjoying a great bottle of wine. It’s just a magical experience.”
Seabeck Cellars is at the Sequim Farmers and Artisans Market every Saturday from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. through October. Visit your community market at Sequim Civic Center Plaza at North Sequim Avenue and West Cedar Street.
Be sure to tune in on Thursday at 4 p.m. to KSQM 91.5 FM for the live radio “Sequim Farmers & Artisans Market Update.”
Emma Jane Garcia is the director for the Sequim Farmers & Artisans Market.
Sequim Farmers & Artisans Market
Open: 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturdays through Oct. 30
Location: Sequim Civic Center Plaza and Centennial Place, downtown Sequim
More info: firstname.lastname@example.org
On the web: sequimmarket.com