The people behind Arabilis Wines Kenny McMahon and Allison McMahon

Kenny McMahon | Winemaker, CoFoundeR

Kenny’s roots trace back to Kentucky, where he spent a significant portion of his early years. The pivotal moment came at the age of 12 when he first savored the flavor of Chardonnay wine grapes. This encounter ignited a passion that would shape his lifelong journey into winemaking. His path led him to Washington State University (WSU), where he not only pursued a doctoral program but also crossed paths with Allison, who eventually became his wife (she was his tour guide at the time).

During his time at WSU, Kenny delved into the intricacies of traditional method sparkling winemaking for his PhD research. His focus centered on understanding the impact of tirage and dosage on the final sensorial profile of the wine. Post-graduation in 2016, Kenny ventured into various industries, gaining valuable experience with major players in alcohol, food, and healthcare. However, his heart drew him back to the world of wine.

Kenny’s journey included a stint as a harvest intern at Two Vintners under the mentorship of Morgan Lee. Subsequently, he honed his skills under Erica Orr at Orr Wines and Orr Wine Lab, starting as an intern and evolving into a wine consultant. Concurrently, he managed production and operations for Arabilis. Since relocating to the Willamette Valley, Kenny has lent his expertise to several wineries, contributing to tasks both substantial and nuanced – from harvest assistance to serving as a consulting winemaker.

Allison McMahon | CEO, CoFounder

Allison McMahon’s journey into the wine world began with a scientific foundation from her BS in Cell/Molecular Biology and culminated in a PhD from Washington State University, where her focus was on Syrah wines’ intricacies, particularly the flavor finish and overall quality.

What truly fuels Allison’s passion is the nexus where technical science meets the art of winemaking, shaping not just a drink but an entire experience. She delved into the impact of tannin and alcohol content on the chemical makeup, understanding how these elements shape not just the taste but the perception and acceptance of the final product.

Beyond the lab, Allison seamlessly brought her expertise into the corporate realm. Here, she applied her skills in product development, sensory analysis, consumer insights, and value proposition creation, not just within the wine industry but across various sectors. In parallel with her full-time commitment to corporate research, she enthusiastically partners with Kenny to breathe life into Arabilis, their shared vision.

For Allison, wine is more than a beverage; it’s a conduit for shared experiences. It’s the bridge between technical know-how and the joy that comes from creating moments for people to connect. As she continues her journey, Allison also serves on the board of the Eola-Amity Hills AVA, giving back to the community that shares in her excitement for the world of wine.