Orenda Winery rebrands as Alveare Winery

Celebration will be held at the Carnation winery on March 23-24.

In October 2023, Samantha and Xander Kent, owners of Orenda Winery, announced their intentions to rebrand as Alveare Winery.

Alveare Winery, taking Orenda’s place, remains under the same management and continues its mission to foster community relationships while making high-quality wine.

Alveare, the Latin word for beehive, was chosen soon after the couple was asked to reconsider their winery’s original name.

“Someone reached out to us and said, ‘Hey, you know I work with various native tribes and noticed that you were using Orenda, which has some native meaning,’” Xander said. “They preferred that we not use it in the long run. It was a great conversation, and within five minutes of our talking, we decided to change it.”

Orenda, a Huron word for spiritual energy used by the Iroquois people, was first introduced to the couple as a word for the balance of energy between all things. At the time, it spoke to their winemaking efforts of seeking a balance of flavor.

“We did some reflecting and also felt like our brand was a little too colorful and vivid relative to the fact that we operate on a historic farm, so we went with a more minimalistic look,” Xander said. “We felt the name Alveare was a really good analogy for community and tied in the beekeeping aspect, so we went with it.”

The couple, who had little to no winemaking experience, came across a listing for the winery on Redfin after abandoning all search filters for the condo they’d been searching for in Seattle.

At the time, the winery, Pleasant Hill Cellars, was owned by Larry and Birgit Lindvig.

“I was like, let’s just go explore it and see the countryside,” Samantha Kent said. “We drove to the open house and met with the owners. They were lovely people, and by the end of the night, they were like, ‘Ok, so when are you buying.’”

The couple purchased and moved to the winery in 2016.

While using the historic infrastructure onsite has required a small-scale, hands-on approach to winemaking, Xander Kent believes it’s one of Alveare’s greatest strengths.

“We are pretty small batched, but unlike 99% of the wineries out there, everything we do is bottled by hand,” Xander said. “We get to touch all parts of the process, and it’s created this community engagement with volunteers that help us with the bottling process.”

Partnering with several Yakima vineyards to supply most of their grapes, Alveare Winery was voted the 2020 Winery to Watch by Wine Press NW and named the 2022 Best Winery on the Eastside by 425 Magazine.

“From the exact same vineyard, two different winemakers will make two completely different wines,” Samantha said. “Wine itself is both a science and an artistry in that respect.”

Samantha’s background in medicine suits her well to the chemistry of winemaking. She leads the winemaking efforts at Alveare while Xander takes on a unique task for a winery: beekeeping.

“I was in the Peace Corps a while back and ended up teaching beekeeping in Africa,” Xander said, who now describes himself as somewhat of an expert beekeeper. “When we bought the property, I built an apiary from scratch and put about 20 hives down.”

Xander is happy to provide pollination services for the surrounding agricultural community and honey for Alveare customers.

Alveare bottles, now covered in simple line drawings accompanied by a tiny bee, include a QR code that prompts users to read the stories behind each design.

A dog- and kid-friendly brand relaunch celebration with wine samples, music, and a food truck will be held at Alveare Winery from noon to 6 p.m. March 23 and 24 at 32305 NE 8th St., Carnation.

“The hope is to bring out those community members who already know about us and see some new faces,” Samantha said. “We’re a place where you can come and hang out with your family and enjoy the beautiful surrounding nature.”

Starting March 29, Alveare will offer tasting room service on Fridays from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. in addition to regular weekend hours.

Alveare Winery is located at 32305 NE 8th St., Carnation. (Photo courtesy of Xander Kent)

Alveare Winery is located at 32305 NE 8th St., Carnation. (Photo courtesy of Xander Kent)