Meet the Owners
Born and raised in Shreveport, Louisiana, Kix Brooks first picked up a guitar at age 12, then continued performing in clubs and at other venues throughout high school. Beer joints weren’t reverential temples to high honky tonk, but more combustive places where the performers onstage were just an extension of the party. “People didn’t come to dance so much as to raise hell and have a good time,” Brooks recalls. “It was about having fun … we played everything from Hank Sr. and Johnny Horton to Frank Zappa songs. Sometimes I’d get to open for folks like the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band or Asleep At The Wheel.”
Before venturing off to chase his dreams, Brooks spent a few summers in Alaska working for his father on the pipeline. Returning to Louisiana Tech, he earned a degree in theatre arts. From Louisiana, Brooks made his way to Maine to work for his sister and brother-in-law’s advertising company writing radio ads. The pull of music soon proved too hard to resist, and Brooks began performing in coffee shops and bars throughout the area.
After journeyman bar-storming in the northeast, and then on New Orleans’ Bourbon Street, he eventually landed in Nashville, where he joined Tree Publishing Company. Shortly thereafter, artists like the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, John Conlee and Highway 101 all scored #1’s with Brooks’ songs. Success as a songwriter led to a solo record deal for Brooks, signing with Capitol records in 1989, this album included the song “Sacred Ground,” later a hit for McBride and the Ride. Though his solo project didn’t launch his career as a recording artist, that success was waiting just around the corner.
The following year, in 1990, Brooks teamed with Ronnie Dunn to form Brooks & Dunn. The pair has gone on to become the highest selling duo in the history of country music, selling more than 30 million records. They have also won more than 75 major industry awards, scored 23 #1 hit singles, and in 2008, they set a new record with their 41st top 10 single, breaking a tie with Alabama as the duo or group with the most Top 10 country singles in the 19-year history of Nielsen BDS-monitored airplay.
Never one to let the grass grow under his feet, Brooks ventured into the world of radio in 2006 when he took over the hosting reins of the long-running syndicated radio program, American Country Countdown. Recently notching his third year in that chair, Brooks reflected on his reason for joining ACC as host, “I really enjoy what I do for a living. I love this business. I love the characters and personalities in this business. At the end of the day, whether songwriting or hosting American Country Countdown, it’s all about sharing those stories.”
Brooks served as President, in 2004, and Chairman, in 2005, of the Country Music Association (CMA). He remains an active board member of the CMA and served as part of the Blue Ribbon Committee, a select group of professionals including the mayor, chosen to bring the city of Nashville and the Music Industry closer together. Brooks is also on the board of Vanderbilt Children's Hospital, and previously served on the Nashville Convention and Visitors Bureau. He is the local spokesperson for Monroe Harding Children’s Home and is a founding partner of Arrington Vineyards in Arrington, TN. Brooks has been married to his wife Barbara for 29 years and they have two children Molly and Eric.
John Russell's interest in wine began while living in Sacramento in the mid 1980's and visiting the Napa valley on weekends with friend's and his wife Carol. Shortly after moving to Tennessee in 1993, he and Carol met Kix and Barbara Brooks while living in the same neighborhood. Soon after, they began carpooling their son's and daughter's together.
John sold the insurance company he founded and ran for 10 years and began spending time at Arrington bottling and getting to know the winery layout. John quickly fell in love with the wine making experience and the beautiful scenic vineyards. Soon after, he was asked to join the Arrington family as a partner in late spring of 2008. John has been a past Board Member of the Williamson County United Way and WAVES, which provides a broad range of supports and services to adults and children with developmental disabilities in Franklin and Williamson County, Tennessee.
In addition to his duties with Arrington, John currently serves as co-owner and Chief Strategist for Cavalry Logistics, a trucking logistics firm in Nashville. He has been married to his wife Carol for 31 years and they have two children - Amanda, and Michael.
Kip Summers began his wine making career in 1991 while he was a touring musician. While on tour in Napa Valley, Kip discovered his passion for wine, the mystery of the grape and his desire to learn more about the winemaking process.
Between tours, Kip found time to plant his own small vineyard and he began making wine at home. When he was not traveling, he would spend time at Beachaven Winery in Clarksville, TN, asking owner Ed Cooke every question he could imagine. In 1994, after several years of studying wine industry textbooks and dreaming of working at a winery, Kip joined Beachaven Winery as the assistant winemaker. After a few years as an apprentice, Kip became Beachaven’s chief winemaker, making over 15 different varieties of wine, 3 champagnes and a port.
Throughout his 16 years as a winemaker, Kip amassed numerous awards including winning the Homer Blitch Award (for service to the Tennessee Wine Industry) and the William O. Beach Award (Best Tennessee Wine) three times.
With a desire to further develop the grape and wine industries in Tennessee, Kip became involved in the political world of wine. In 2006, Kip authored the 2006 Tennessee State Viticulture Plan for the Governor’s Viticultural Advisory Board. He has spearheaded several legislative efforts which have resulted in the elimination of a sales limit at TN wineries, constitutional changes to the TN Winery Laws, and legalized direct wine shipping in TN. Kip and his wife Valerie also helped create the “Wines of the South” Wine Competition for the Tennessee Farm Wineries Association.
After a decade of work at Beachaven, Kip began to dream of having his own winery in Williamson County. In 2005, the partners purchase 40 acres of land just south of Nashville in Arrington, TN. After many years of hard work, politics and construction, Arrington Vineyards opened on July 1, 2007.
Kip, a native of Texas, lives in Arrington with his wife Valerie and their two daughters Mackenzie and Riley.