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Our Latest Reviews from Great Northwest Wine!

Our 2014 vintage is proving to be a winner! Great Northwest Wine recently reviewed and rated our 2014 Renaissance Red and 2014 Estate Syrah. They both received the Outstanding! rating, the highest rating given at Great Northwest Wine. Both of these wines are produced from Lewis-Clark Valley grown grapes.

Great Northwest Wine has always been a huge supporter of Idaho wines. In an industry that has been so skeptical of Idaho wine, they have always helped prove the naysayers wrong!

To read their review on 2014 Renaissance Red, click here.
To read their review on 2014 Estate Syrah, click here.

Thank you Eric, Andy and everyone else at Great Northwest Wine!

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Our results from the 36th Annual San Francisco International Wine Competition

There are so many exciting things happening right now at Clearwater Canyon! I’ll tell you a little story about one of those things…

Back in May we decided to enter a couple of wines in a little wine competition called the San Francisco International Wine Competition. This competition is the largest and most prestigious international wine competition in the United States. We chose to enter our 2014 Phinny Hill Carmenère and our 2013 Selway. About a month later we were given unexpected news: Our Carmenère received a Silver medal and our Selway received a Double Gold!

What’s the difference between a Gold and a Double Gold? In a wine competition like the San Francisco International, judging is done blind; meaning the wines are tasted without knowing what the specific wine is. They are only told what the grape varietal is. Judges are broken up into panels and given a number of wines to judge. They rate the wine by medal (Bronze, Silver or Gold). If all of the judges in the panel give the wine a Gold, then the wine receives a Double Gold.

In this specific competition, wines rated Gold and Double Gold are also scored on a 100 point scale. The Selway was rated 97 points! Upon finding this out, we were curious as to how that put us in the standing amongst other wines scored in the competition. For what seemed like weeks, we finally found out. Selway tied for 19th in the competition overall! That’s right. A wine made from grapes 100% grown in the Lewis-Clark Valley was placed in the top 20 wines in the world. Selway was the only Non-Bordeaux blend from the Northwest to receive a Double Gold.

For Idaho wine skeptics, this is further proof that our wines can stand up against wines from around the globe!

For a complete list of this year’s results, click here.

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Eric Degerman’s recent visit to Clearwater Canyon Cellars

Century Farm

Eric Degerman of Great Northwest Wine made a recent visit to the Lewis-Clark Valley to observe the 100th birthday of our farm and to check on our winery construction project. He wrote a great article, click here


Read this article to learn about the…

– ‘Idaho Century Farm Award’ that our family farm received!

– new winery we have under construction!

– civic legacy Coco’s grandfather left to the Lewis-Clark Valley community!




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How to find us at the winery this summer!

Hello everyone! The Port of Lewiston is undergoing road construction at the moment. If you would like to visit us at the winery before we move up to Umiker Vineyard, here are the directions:

Turn at the stoplight at 3rd Ave N (heading west)
Continue on 3rd Ave N
Turn right on 15th St N
Then turn right onto 6th Ave N
Drive around the ‘road closed’ sign and you will be at the winery!

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We are featured in Good Fruit Grower Magazine!

We are featured in the current issue of Good Fruit Grower magazine! It is one of the best articles written to date about our new Lewis-Clark Valley AVA. It includes interviews with Coco and Karl, Jim Arnett (of Arnett Vineyards), and Alan Busacca, geologist author of our AVA petition. Good Fruit Grower is one of the most highly regarded magazines read by grape growers and enthusiasts alike. The full article is available to read here.

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Great Reviews from Rand Sealey!

Our wines were featured in the June issue of Rand Sealey’s Review of Washington Wines!  Although we are an Idaho winery, our grapes are grown in both Idaho and Washington.  Below are the reviews that Rand did on some of our Spring releases.  The rest of our Spring releases will be featured in the July issue.  To subscribe to the Rand Sealey’s Review of Washington Wines, click here.

From the Newest AVA:  Clearwater Canyon Cellars

On May 20, the Lewis-Clark Valley became Idaho and Washington’s newest American Viticultural Area (AVA). The 306,658-acre AVA straddles the Washington-Idaho border, comprising an area surrounding Lewiston, Idaho and Clarkston, Washington. Karl and Coco Umiker’s vineyard near Lewiston is among those that are now allowed to use the Lewis-Clark appellation.

2014 Clearwater Canyon Cellars Malbec, Washington, Verhey Vineyard ($28)
From a vineyard in the Rattlesnake Hills, this Malbec (95%, with 4% Petite Sirah and 1% Carmenere) offers a deep crimson-ruby color and enticing aromas of wild fruits – blackberries, blueberries, black currants – with scents of black roses, mulberry, pipe tobacco and smoldering incense. The flavors mirror the aromatics with thick black and blue fruits that are imbued with licorice, bittersweet chocolate, Sumatra roast and alluvial minerals. The saturation continues on the back with sensations of macerated berries, roasted chestnuts, crème de cassis and graphite, all leading into a savory ripe tannin finish. 18.5/20 points.

2014 Clearwater Canyon Cellars Carménère, Washington, Phinny Hill Vineyard ($28)
This is a fine version of the “lost grape of Bordeaux.” It shows a deep crimson color and seductive aromas of raspberries, old tree cherries, black currants, crushed roses, mulberry, sandalwood, sweet tobacco, violets and oriental incense. The medium bodied flavors are alluring, with lavish fruits that are interwoven with black licorice, dark cocoa, French roast and Horse Heaven wind blown earth. The back reveals sensations of pressed berries, framboise liqueur, crème de cassis and semi dried cherries. The alcohol registers at 15.1% but is balanced by bright fruit acids on the lingering, slightly nutted sweet-dry tannin finish. The lovely aromatics give it a plus. 18.5+/20 points.

2014 Clearwater Canyon Cellars Estate Syrah, Lewis-Clark Valley, Umiker Vineyard ($28)
Deep ruby colored, this wine emits intoxicating aromas of blackberries, blueberries, black currants, crushed roses, mulberry, pipe tobacco, lavender and spiced incense. The flavors mirror the aromatics with black and blue fruits that are imbued with licorice, dark cocoa, French roast and Clearwater River minerals. On the back, the wine turns thick and chewy, with notes of macerated berries, roasted nuts, kidskin leather, mocha and lanolin (“legs”), followed by a lingering, savory (nutmeg, clove, coriander) ripe tannin finish. All this suggests that the Umiker Vineyard is a prime source of Syrah. 19/20 points.

2014 Clearwater Canyon Cellars Petite Sirah, Washington ($28)
From the Roosevelt Vineyard, along with 7% Phinny Hill Carménère, this shows an opaque purplish color and a highly aromatic nose (both traits of Petite Sirah). Scents of blackberries, cherries, black currants, crushed roses, lavender, cracked pepper and incense jump out of the glass. The flavors are thick and generous, loaded with dark fruits that are replete with licorice, dark cocoa, campfire coffee and scorched earth. The saturation continues on the back with sensations of roasted berries and walnuts, semi dried cherries, toffee and burnt charcoal, followed by a chewy, slightly grainy ripe tannin finish. 18.5+/20 points.

2013 Clearwater Canyon Cellars “Selway” Red Wine, Lewis-Clark Valley ($38)
Named for a river that flows freely into the Clearwater River, this is a tasty blend of 45% Merlot, 36% Cabernet Franc, 12% Syrah, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon and 2% Malbec from the Umiker, Rockn’J and Arnett vineyards, barrel aged for 30 months, it shows a deep ruby-garnet color and and a rich, smoky nose of blackberry, cherry, plum, crushed roses, mulberry, pipe tobacco, cedar, rosemary and spiced incense. The medium bodied flavors mirror the aromatics with suave yet deep cored ripe fruits that are imbued with cocoa powder, Sumatra roast and alluvial minerals. The back picks up notes of macerated berries, roasted chestnuts, toffee, dried cherries, leather, graphite and seasoned oak, on the way to a lingering spiced (cardamom, clove) and herbed (rosemary, sage) smooth tannin finish. 19/20 points.


Photo Credit:  Rand Sealey’s Review of Washington Wines Facebook page

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Winemaker Dinner at Richard’s Cafe Vicino is June 9th!

Come and enjoy an evening with us June 9th at Richard’s Cafe Vicino in Boise!  James Beard Nominated Chef Richard Langston has created a menu of delicious courses to pair with our newly released wines.


2015 Lochsa:
Smoked Idaho sturgeon with lemon gastrique, Idaho Caviar cream

2014 Merlot:
Local greens, La Quercia Coppa (lardons), Local cherries, goat cheese dressing

2014 Carmenere:
Lamb meatballs spiced with coriander on local heirloom polenta topped with salsa Verde

2014 Petite Syrah:
Soy and brown sugar glazed pork belly with roasted sesame carrots

2014 Malbec:
Fresh local berries with prosecco zabaglione

Price: $125.00 ~ Call Cafe Vicino at (208) 472-1463 for reservations.
Cannot accommodate food issues. Must leave credit card # to hold reservation and all the usual fine print.

We hope to see you there!


Photo:  Richard Langston at Richard’s Cafe Vicino.  Photo Credit-

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The Lewis-Clark Valley AVA has been approved!

It is official! The valley we call home is now an American Viticultural Area (AVA)!  The Lewis-Clark Valley AVA was approved by the Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) on April 20, 2016, just in time for the AVA Launch event.  From this point forward, wines produced from grapes GROWN within the boundary of the Lewis-Clark Valley AVA will be adorned with the words ‘Lewis-Clark Valley’ on the label!

Jim Arnett of Arnett Vineyard cutting the ribbon for the Lewis-Clark Valley AVA
Jim Arnett of Arnett Vineyard cutting the ribbon for the Lewis-Clark Valley AVA.  Photo Credit: Rachel Riddle

Karl wanted to try and establish an AVA here when we started planting Umiker Vineyard on our family farm in 2003. He felt that we could prepare a successful AVA petition based on our vibrant wine history (dating back to 1872) coupled with the new plantings and wineries starting up at the time. We soon realized that petitioning the TTB for a new AVA was a major undertaking in terms of the time, effort, and money required to complete a successful petition. We decided to wait until we had a few more producers here that could partner with us in preparing an AVA petition.

In 2009 our buddies Mike and Melissa Pearson opened Colter’s Creek Winery here in the valley. Like us, they were committed to making world class wine from grapes grown in the Lewis-Clark Valley.  They were excited to join forces with us in working to establish the Lewis-Clark Valley AVA. With help from CEDA, we secured an Economic Development Grant to help with the financial burden of gathering the data required to establish a scientifically meaningful boundary for the AVA. The grant required matching funds which were contributed by the Ports of Clarkston & Lewiston, Idaho Wine Commission, Colter’s Creek Winery, and Clearwater Canyon Cellars. Mike, Melissa, Karl, and I wrote the checks, tipped our glasses, and hoped that the AVA would be accepted by the TTB someday thereby bringing prestige to the grapes grown now and prior to prohibition.

With money in-hand we hired Dr. Alan Busacca, a geologist, to be the author of our Lewis-Clark Valley AVA petition. Dr. Busacca spent months researching the geology, soils, weather, rain fall, and history of the Lewis-Clark Valley. The petition he prepared is a compelling story of the wine making history here and the environmental factors that contribute to the exceptional wine quality we have grown to expect from this place. Our first petition was submitted in 2011 and rejected with suggested revisions. Although it was a setback, the TTB gave us great feedback allowing us to prepare and submit our final petition. Our new and approved Lewis-Clark Valley AVA is comprised of 306,658 acres within Clearwater, Latah, Lewis & Nez Perce counties in Idaho and Asotin, Garfield, Whitman counties in Washington. You can read the entire L-CV AVA petition here.. I highly suggest looking through this document if you are interested in geeking out on Lewis-Clark Valley wine info. It is a real page turner!

What does this mean for our valley? The quality of life and culture of our community will thrive as our wine industry grows here. This has been proven in similar communities here in the Northwest. This new chapter in our region beholds many wonderful and delicious opportunities and we are grateful to be here to enjoy it!

It only took 7 years, but we did it! We are now planted in the Lewis-Clark Valley American Viticultural Area!

Cheers, Coco

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Join us for a “Taste of Peru”!

Join us for a “Taste of Peru”!  Chef Gustavo Ramirez of Happy Day Catering will be pairing five delectable courses with our wines. Chef Gustavo moved here eight years ago from Peru and will sharing the cuisines of his home country with our valley for the first time on May 21. We will be holding this amazing dinner at Clarkston Event Center at 6pm. Tickets are $100 (plus taxes) per person and can be purchased by calling Happy Day Catering at (208) 743-0179.

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Join us for a weekend of wine, relaxation and outdoor splendor at River Dance Lodge!

Located on the Middle Fork of the Clearwater River, River Dance Lodge is the ultimate outdoor enthusiasts’ getaway on the Lewis-Clark Trail.  Their onsite restaurant, Syringa Café will be serving up two nights of wine-paired dinners as part of a two-night weekend package. Colter’s Creek Winery will be pouring wines for the dinner on Friday, April 29th and we, Clearwater Canyon Cellars, will be pour our wines paired with dinner on Saturday, April 30th.  Saturday activities include a guided hike up Canyon Creek to the site of the Kooskia Internment Camp, the first Japanese internment camp in the United States during World War II.  The cost for this weekend of pure enjoyment is $339 per person, including two nights of lodging and all meals Friday night through Sunday morning.  Let us help you embrace your inner bon vivant for a weekend full of history and indulgence at one of the most beautiful locations in Idaho!  To reserve your spot or for more information, contact River Dance Lodge at 1 -(866) 769-8747.