In 1991 as a professional musician on tour in Napa Valley, California, Kip discovered his passion for wine, the mystery of the grape and his desire to learn more about the wine industry.
He began studying all things wine related and started experimenting with growing different types of grapes in Tennessee. In 1994, Kip joined Beachaven Vineyards & Winery in Clarksville, Tennessee as an apprentice, in order to learn the craft of commercial wine production. A quick study, he became assistant winemaker in 1995, and chief winemaker in 1996. During his 10 year tenure as chief winemaker, Beachaven’s annual sales and production increased 5 fold. This growth was the result of consistent wine quality and a broad range of styles - including 18 different wines.
After a decade of wine work at Beachaven, Kip dreamed of building his own winery in Williamson County, Tennessee. In 2005, he partnered with country music star Kix Brooks and businessman John Russell to create Arrington Vineyards.
With a desire to assist in the development of Tennessee’s wine industry, Kip became involved in the political world of wine. He serves as Chairman of the Governor’s Viticultural Advisory Board and has authored the state’s biennial Viticulture Plan since 2005. He has spearheaded numerous legislative efforts resulting in the elimination of a sales limit at Tennessee wineries, constitutional changes to the Tennessee Winery Laws, and legalized direct wine shipping in Tennessee. Kip and his wife Valerie also helped create the “Wines of the South” Regional Wine Competition – currently conducted by the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.
Throughout his 20 years as a winemaker, Kip has amassed numerous gold, silver and bronze medals for his wines at various international wine competitions throughout the USA. He has also been honored with the “Homer Blitch Award” for service to the Tennessee Wine Industry and the Wines of the South “William O. Beach Award” for Best Tennessee Wine three times.
Kip, a native of Texas, lives in Arrington, TN with his wife Valerie The Summers have been married since 1991 and have two adult children - Mackenzie & Riley.