Winemaker & Owner
Coco was 21 years old when she asked her grandfather for permission to rent land for vineyard development on her family’s century farm in Lewiston Idaho. While completing degrees in Microbiology (B.S) and Molecular Biology & Biochemistry at University of Idaho (UofI) the winery and vineyard plans took shape. By 2004 Umiker Estate Vineyard and Clearwater Canyon Cellars were established. Her first commercial vintage was spent juggling winemaking at Clearwater Canyon while working 100 miles away as an enologist at Whitman Cellars in Walla Walla, Washington.
In 2005 Coco begin work on her doctorate at Washington State University (WSU) within the Enology and Viticulture Program. Luckily WSU and UofI are only 30 miles from Lewiston! Her Doctoral research focus was on the Factors affecting culturability, viability, and filterability of Dekkera Bruxellensis in red wine. Basically she is a wine microbiologist that specializes in wine spoilage microorganisms. Yup, this topic is a bit of a buzz kill at happy hour so she generally only shares her expertise on this topic at wine industry conferences and consulting gigs.
Coco likes to think of herself as an artist that uses the natural environment and a deep understanding of wine science to craft grapes in to liquid art. She looks to each vintage as an opportunity to explore unique wine characters that are inherent to that year. If asked she always has a few new projects and winemaking techniques she is experimenting with in the cellar.
Vineyard Manager & Owner
Karl grew up in Northwest Arkansas racing mountain bikes and exploring the Ozarks with his musical family. His first job was delivering newspapers while hanging from the side of a VW Bug driven by his father. In-between bike races Karl earned a BS in Chemistry from the University of Arkansas. The natural beauty of the Pacific Northwest and the University of Idaho drew him to Moscow, Idaho. Karl earned a MS in Soil Science from the University of Idaho and was subsequently hired as a Research Support Scientist studying carbon and nitrogen dynamics in soils. He remains active with UI and proudly serves on the Advisory Board to the Dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.
Karl is known as the ‘Vine Whisperer’ and is frequently found (without his phone) walking slowly through Umiker Vineyard observing and taking notes. Karl is committed to continually learning and exploring how different viticultural practices influence wine quality and character. Managing the century old farm that is home to Umiker Vineyard and Clearwater Canyon is an endeavor that Karl approaches with love and respect for the environment.
Sales & Wine Club Manager
Rachel was born and raised in Lewiston and hails from the great Riddle jet boat family. Rachel’s family spent their free-time exploring the beautiful rivers in our region and riding ATVs in Idaho’s vast wilderness. She lived in Walla Walla for seven years, spending four of those years working in the tasting room at Long Shadows Vintners. She joined the team as Karl and Coco’s first full-time employee in January 2016. Rachel ‘s passion is connecting with our customers and teaching people about wine. When visiting or contacting the winery, Rachel’s happy personality is often the first point of contact. In her spare time Rachel loves traveling, singing, dancing, listening to true crime podcasts and nerding out on wine (of course!). Her favorite wines are Riesling and Syrah.
Cellar Master & Viticulturist
Mike grew up on his family’s cattle ranch along the Grande Ronde River in the Lewis-Clark Valley. He attended Lewis-Clark State College where he earned degrees in welding and industrial mechanics. Many years of working long days in rugged and remote terrain allowed him to develop many skills that are indispensable in the vineyard and winery. Mike helped establish Rock n’J Vineyard on the ranch in 2010 and takes great pride in the beautiful wines that are harvested there each year. Mike officially joined the Clearwater Canyon Team in 2016 when he moved to the ‘big city’ of Lewiston. Mike is always looking ahead and has perfected the art of working smarter not harder in both the cellar and vineyard. We would be lost without him! In his spare time he loves fishing, working in his shop on wood and metal projects, and exploring on his side-by-side. His favorite wine is Malbec!