The Winemakers

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Karl and Coco Umiker, Owners

Education paved the way for success at Clearwater Canyon Cellars. Karl was awarded an undergraduate degree in Chemistry (University of Arkansas) and a Masters in Soils (University of Idaho). Coco earned undergraduate degrees in Microbiology, Molecular Biology and Biochemistry (University of Idaho) and a Ph.D. in Food Science (Washington State University). Our education allows us to truly understand grape growing and wine making. Starting in 2002, we joined a group to brainstorm about starting a winery in the valley.

In 2004, we were among four couples that originally founded Clearwater Canyon Cellars. For the first three vintages the winery operated out of a garage in the Lewiston Orchards. We produced our first commercial wine, the “2004 Renaissance Red,” a blend of about 100 cases with grapes harvested from the Horse Heaven Hills AVA in Washington. We continue to produce a Renaissance Red blend every year. The first of our local grapes were harvested in 2005 to produce a Merlot made entirely from grapes grown at Umiker Vineyard in Lewiston. Since then, we have produced many blends and stand- alone varietals, with grapes from the Umiker, Ellis and Near Eden Vineyards of Lewiston (ID), the Riverbend Vineyard in Peck (ID), the Arnett Vineyard in Clarkston (WA), the Rock n’ J Vineyard in Rogersburg (WA) and two notable vineyards outside the valley, the Phinny Hill Vineyard in the Horse Heaven Hills AVA (WA) and Verhey Vineyard in the Rattlesnake Hills AVA (WA).

In 2007 we made the move to a commercial location in the Port of Lewiston, where we are today. Then in 2010, after years of many great vintages, the founding members of Clearwater Canyon Cellars went their separate ways and encouraged us to continue. Driven by our desire to work together each day toward the goal of producing ultra-premium wines from Lewis-Clark Valley fruit, we now solely operate Clearwater Canyon Cellars. We are inspired to bring notoriety back to the valley as a world-renown area for making award-winning wines.  In the winter of 2016, we moved our operations to our new winery at our family’s Idaho Century Farm at our estate vineyard.

Please enjoy the journey with us. Your taste buds will thank you!