The 29-year-old University of Washington graduate studied geology before pouring his passion full-time into his father’s famed winery, Andrew Will.

Share story

WILL CAMARDA was 2 years old when his father, Chris, launched Andrew Will and became one of Washington’s most revered winemakers.

Camarda, 29, grew up helping out around the winery, usually lending a hand during harvest or bottling.

He never really saw himself making wine his profession or working alongside his famous father. But that’s exactly what he’s doing, and today he’s throwing all of his passion into his craft.

Two to try

Esploso is Will Camarda’s own wine, a cabernet sauvignon that includes a little merlot and cabernet franc. The 2013 is available primarily through Andrew Will’s website. The 2014 has not yet been released. Collectors might well treasure these wines in years to come.

Andrew Will 2013 Esploso cabernet sauvignon, Columbia Valley, $60: Will Camarda’s inaugural solo effort is expressive, elegant and plush, leading with aromas of ripe plum, black currant, chai spices and black olive; followed by round flavors of blackberry, black tea and dark chocolate; and backed by bright acidity and supple tannins.

Andrew Will 2014 Esploso cabernet sauvignon, Columbia Valley, $60: As expected with a not-yet-released red, this wine still is tightly wound and takes a little coaxing to draw out alluring aromas of spices, dark-roast coffee and blackberry. On the palate, it easily unveils flavors of blackstrap molasses, boysenberry and a hint of caramel. The tannins speak of grace over power.

He’s the “Will” of Andrew Will. (His cousin Andrew, who works in the Seattle restaurant industry, is the other half of the name.)

For more than three years, Camarda has been working full-time at the Vashon winery and now is co-winemaker. This means coordinating harvest and handling most of the heavy lifting of running a winery. He and his father work together on all the final blends.

Camarda was born in South Korea and was adopted when he was a few months old. In his youth, he thought it was pretty cool to have his name on a wine label, but he didn’t think too much about it.

Instead, he wanted to be an architect. While attending the University of Washington, he changed his studies to geology, and upon graduation spent a couple of years working as an environmental scientist in Seattle before feeling drawn back to Vashon and working with his father.

The geology has turned out to be important: Camarda is able to better understand the soils of the Columbia Valley and how they affect grape-growing and winemaking.

As his skills have matured, Camarda has started a side project called Esploso (Italian for “exploded view”), a cabernet sauvignon using grapes from Ciel du Cheval and Champoux, two of Washington’s top vineyards. A drawing on the label of an “exploded view” of a stapler is one of his original drawings and represents all the parts that go into making a great wine.

One of Washington’s treasured wineries is in great hands as the next generation begins to take over.