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Heaps of Gold from The San Francisco Chronicle!

During the end-of-the year rush our wines received several truly remarkable accolades! Now that life has settled down we can begin sharing the great news! The first juicy morsels are the results from the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition!

We came home with a whopping total of 4 double gold & gold medals! This is a heap of gold! Only 4 Pacific Northwest wineries earned 4 or more gold medals at The Chronicle: Clearwater Canyon Cellars, Walla Walla Vintners, Ste. Michelle Wine Estates and A to Z Wineworks!

The judges are a collection of 60 wine industry professionals that hail from prestigious positions all over the country. 

Here’s our gold medal winners:

2016 Malbec, Double Gold!!

2016 Merlot, Gold!

2016 Renaissance Red, Gold!

2016 Coco’s Reserve Blend Nº 5, Gold!

Click here to learn more about these wines on our website.

Eric Degerman of Great Northwest Wine wrote an excellent article recapping all the Pacific Northwest highlights. 

We are so excited! Thank you to all that continue to support us!



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Sip Northwest Best of the Northwest Competition Results!

The results are in and we are proud to say team Clearwater Canyon Cellars did really well…2 gold metals and 2 judge’s picks!

Sip Northwest is both a printed and online magazine that focuses exclusively on beverages. If you geek out on all the beautiful liquid assets (wine, craft beer, cider, cocktails, soda, mead, tea, coffee etc.) of the Pacific Northwest then you need to start reading this page turner.

Sip Northwest runs one big competition, ‘Best of the Northwest’, each year. The structure of this competition is unique and has lured us back again this year to battle for notoriety. Generally each wine in a competition is awarded either gold, silver, bronze or no metal. In the Sip Northwest Competition, wines are grouped by varietal and then judged against each other! This makes it darn hard to bring home a metal but really exciting when you do! There could be 50 wines entered into one category but only 1 wine will earn each of the metals (in some cases there are ties). Wines that came very close to winning a metal are awarded ‘judge’s pick’ to acknowledge that the judges truly loved them but just didn’t have room for them on the podium. 

Here’s what Sip Northwest had to say about ‘Best of the Northwest’…

“An open call for submissions last spring drafted 667 wines, 282 beers, 145 spirits and 145 ciders that were sampled blind and judged by nearly 100 leading beverage experts, from master sommeliers and cicerones to certified spirit judges and cider buyers, who determined the top four in each respective beverage category.

The tastings led to an all-inclusive, encyclopedic catalog of winners that now have a proven track record of greatness and are splayed out on the pages of the fall print issue, with tasting notes, price tags and more.”

We submitted 4 wines and all 4 came home with top honors! Here’s a link to the full list of awards at Sip Northwest.


2015 Petite Sirah, Columbia Valley


2017 Albariño, Crawford Vineyard, Yakima Valley


2016 Merlot, Lewis-Clark Valley


2016 Malbec, Verhey Vineyard, Rattlesnake Hills

All of these wines mentioned above are still available with the exception of the 2017 Albariño! No worries though, our 2018 Albariño is settling in the tank right now!





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The 536th!

    Thank you to the Alumni Association Board of Directors for deciding to bestow onto me the 536th Washington State University Alumni Achievement Award. Someone out there nominated me. To you, whoever you are, I’ll be forever grateful for your show of support for my personal journey through graduate school and beyond. To Karl, this award is as much mine as it is yours. We’ve been a team for 18 years. It’s your steady hand and wisdom that has kept us on track and always pushing to see around the next bend in the road.

     The microphone at our most recent wine club release event was suddenly taken over by the WSU Alumni Association and I was left basically speechless (rare occurrence for me) with their presentation. I’ve had time now to reflect and understand more about this longstanding award and I’m truly humbled to be included among so many great Cougs. This list has been compiling since 1970 and includes a kaleidoscope of alumni that have pursued their passions in coaching, music, science etc. There are a handful of ‘wine folks’ on the list, two of which (Rick Small & Ted Baseler) we’ve admired for a long time. The Alumni Association wrote a nice article to explain why in the world they would award such a thing to an Idahoan! Click here or on the picture below to check it out.

Cheers! Coco


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King (or Queen) of Platinum!

Greetings, fellow wine lovers! We made the King of Platinum list (or Queen of Platinum in our case)! Coco is the first head female winemaker and first Idaho winemaker to accumulate 10 Platinum awards! A winery gets on the King of Platinum list once they receive 10 Platinum medals. Our 2014 Coco’s Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon received a Platinum in the most recent judging, bringing our number of Platinum medals received to 10! The Platinum Judging is conducted by Wine Press Northwest every October. Wines are only invited if they had previously received a Gold or Double Gold medal in a previous competition during the same calendar year. This is the most prestigious wine judging done in the Pacific Northwest. We are honored to be on this list among so many great Northwest wineries!  Some of our favorite fellow wineries on this list are Reustle-Prayer Rock Vineyards, Walla Walla Vintners and Smasne Cellars.

The 2014 Coco’s Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon is made from grapes 100% grown in the Lewis-Clark Valley. Vineyard sources were our estate Umiker Vineyard, Arnett Vineyard, and Rock n’J Vineyard. This wine received a Gold medal at the 2017 Cascadia International Wine Competition to qualify for the judging. We are sold out of it at the winery, but our 100% Lewis-Clark Valley 2015 Louis Delsol Cabernet Sauvignon is now available!

This is what the judges had to say about it:
Clearwater Canyon Cellars 2014 Coco’s Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, Lewis-Clark Valley • $42                                                                      Co-petitioners of the Lewis-Clark Valley appellation, Coco Umiker and her viticulturist husband Karl used only L-C Valley fruit for this heady Cab – Rock ‘n J, Arnett and their estate vineyard. Distinctive and delicious, it’s approachable yet ageworthy as dusty dark fruit, mint, basil and lavender flow over beautifully textured tannins. (151 cases, 14.7% alc.) Award: Cascadia International Wine Competition (gold).

In addition to the Platinum we received in the competition, our 2015 Carmenère received a Double Gold, adding to its impressive pedigree. To receive a Double Gold, every judge in the panel must award a gold medal to the wine.  The Carmenère has received four consecutive Platinum medals, with the 2014 vintage being awarded a Double Platinum.  The grapes are 100% grown in the Horse Heaven Hills at Phinny Hill Vineyard.  This vineyard is owned by the Beightol family in Alderdale.  The 2015 vintage is still available at the winery, but we are almost sold out!

Out of the 660 wines entered in this year’s judging, 200 Platinum awards were given. Wine Press Northwest is a part of the Tri-City Herald in Kennewick, WA. The publication’s annual Platinum Judging started 18 years ago. Wines from Idaho, Washington, Oregon and British Columbia are invited to the competition after they wine a Gold or Double Gold medal in another reputable competition.  To read more about the 2017 Platinum Judging, click here.

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Enthusiast Club Vineyard Dinner


Available exclusively to Enthusiast Club members.

You can learn more about the club and how to join here.

July 27th, 28th & 29th!

 RSVP by July 14th!

     Our 5th Annual Enthusiast Club Dinner in the Vineyard is upon us!  This event is offered to you, our Enthusiast Club members, as a ‘thank you’ for your loyal support of our winemaking efforts.  This year we are celebrating the completion of our new winery building! What a joy to finally bring winemaking operations home to the vineyard!
     The theme for this momentous occasion is ‘Passport to Your Palate’, inspired by Rachel Riddle, our Sales & Marketing Manager, and her recent trip to Western Europe.  A different country is represented in each course. The menu is heavily influenced by North African cuisine, a popular theme in Amsterdam. We will also enjoy a variety of memorable Western European eats from her travels.
     Temperatures are likely to be hot at the beginning of the evening and will cool off as night falls upon the vineyard.  Dress comfortably so that you can enjoy the natural beauty of the vineyard (no high heels ladies!)

See you ‘In the Vineyard’
     Karl, Coco & Rachel

P.S. — Last call! 2016 Lolo, 2015 Reserve Chardonnay, 2014 Reserve Cabernet, 2014 Petite Sirah!  These and other wines can be reserved now and may still be available for purchase the night of the dinner.  Please let us know if you would like to order any wine before your visit.  We can charge the card on file and have the wines waiting for you after the dinner.  See for a full list of available wines.

Photo by David Witthaus,
Northwest Media Productions
Nightfall in the vines


Vineyard Dinner Details

Thursday, July 27th
Friday, July 28th
Saturday, July 29th 


$150/person (tax & gratuity is included)



Format: Beginning at 6:30pm, the passed appetizer will be served as participants arrive and explore the vineyard looking for hidden wine bottles! Yes, you can keep what you find!
Join us back at the table for plated dinner service at 7:15pm.

 Passed Appetizer (England)

2016 Lolo, Lewis-Clark Valley
Tea sandwiches with cucumber cream cheese & chives

Plated Dinner
1st Course (Spain)
2015 Coco’s Reserve Estate Chardonnay, Umiker Vineyard, Lewis-Clark Valley
Chorizo & green olive flatbread with
fresh tomatoes, parsley & quail egg


2nd Course (Belgium)
 2016 Lochsa Chardonnay, Lewis-Clark Valley
Goat cheese & heirloom tomato salad
with micro greens, fresh ground pepper & parmesan cracker

3rd Course (Tunisia)
2015 Phinny Hill Carmenère, Horse Heaven Hills
Butter basted cod with harissa over creamy polenta

4th Course (France)
2015 Verhey Malbec, Rattlesnake Hills
Peppered Muscovy duck breast in Verhey Malbec reduction
with duck fat Brussels sprout hash
Intermezzo (Persia)
 Cold cantaloupe soup with edible flower


5th Course (Morocco)
2014 Selway, Lewis-Clark Valley, Horse Heaven Hills, Rattlesnake Hills
Aromatic lamb meatballs with nutty couscous
drizzled with creamy saffron sauce


6th Course (Italy)
2015 Merlot , Lewis-Clark Valley
Mascarpone stuffed figs with honey drizzle
garnished with dark chocolate

How to reserve a seat;
     Limited space is available so please contact us as soon as possible if you’re interested in attending. No refunds are possible after July 14th due to food ordering limitations.

     The Dinner will be held at Clearwater Canyon’s Estate Winery and Vineyard, located at 3143 10th St., Lewiston, ID at the corner of 10th & Preston in the Lewiston Orchards;

Seating begins at 6:30pm on the following days,
Thursday, July 27th
Friday, July 28th
Saturday, July 29th

Price per seat is $150 (tax & gratuity is included)

Reserve now by contacting us: or (208) 816-4679 


Photo by David Witthaus, Northwest Media Productions


We’ll see you there!

Karl, Coco & Rachel




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Our Carmenère soared high at the San Francisco Chronicle Competition!

Our Phinny Hill Carmenère just earned the distinction of top Carmenère at the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition, the mother of all American wine competitions! It was the only Carmenère to receive a Double Gold medal, adding to its impressive pedigree.

Here are the other awards and ratings the 2014 Carmenère has received since its release:

  • #11 on The Seattle Times’ ‘Top 50 Wines of 2016’
  • 18.5+/20 points, Rand Sealey’s Review of Washington Wines
  • ‘Outstanding!’ (highest rating), Great Northwest Wine
  • Double Platinum, Wine Press Northwest Annual Platinum Judging
  • Double Gold, Idaho Wine Competition
  • Silver, Cascadia Wine Competition
  • Silver, Great Northwest Wine Invitational
  • Silver, San Francisco International Competition
  • Silver, Idaho Wine & Cider Award

We are sold out of this vintage of Carmenère, the 2015 will be available the first weekend in May for our Spring Release!


To see the full list of results from the 2017 San Francisco Chronicle Competition, click here.

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     We just won FIVE Double Platinum & Platinum Awards! Eric Degerman, moderator of the Platinum judging, recently congratulated us and commented, “I believe that is an unprecedented batting average for that many qualifiers.” We entered 5 wines and 5 were awarded Double Platinum or Platinum! There were only 4 wineries in the entire northwest (ID, WA, OR, BC) that won more than 5 platinums but none that could match our batting average!

     The following is a list of our Platinum award winners and their qualifying gold medals. All but one are still available for purchase until they too are sold out!;

2014 Phinny Hill Carmenere, Double Platinum
             Double Gold, Idaho Wine Competition

2014 Umiker Vineyard Estate Syrah, Platinum
             Double Gold, Idaho Wine Competition

2014 Verhey Vineyard Malbec, Platinum
             Gold/Best Malbec, Great Northwest Wine Invitational

2014 Petite Sirah, Platinum
             Gold, Cascadia Wine Competition

2013 Selway, Platinum
             Double Gold, San Francisco International Competition

     Wine Press Northwest put the spotlight on us in their recent article ‘Best of the Best: Platinum 2016’! Here’s what they said, “Clearwater Canyon Cellars in the historic Lewis-Clark Valley entered five wines into the judging. Each earned a Platinum, highlighted by Double Platinum for a Carménère that Coco Umiker makes from Washington’s Horse Heaven Hills.”

    We can’t imagine a better way to celebrate the end of 2016 and our move into our new winery building!


     The Platinum Judging is moderated by Wine Press Northwest at the end of each year. Wines must qualify to compete for platinum by winning a gold medal in a major domestic or international competition during the same calendar year.

     Platinum is one of the highest medal honors given to wines within the northwest wine competition scene. Clearwater Canyon has accumulated 2 double platinum and 7 platinum awards over the years, leaving us just ONE short of inclusion on the ‘Kings of the Platinum’ list (this requires 10 platinums). Currently there are 25 ‘Platinum Kings’ all of which are some of the Northwest’s most respected wineries such as Gehringer Brothers, Reustle-Prayer Rock Vineyards, Walla Walla Vintners and others. They may have to change the list to ‘Platinum Kings & Queens’ if we earn #10.

     A Double Platinum medal is given when all members in the panel of judges independently judge the wine as ‘Platinum’. There are typically around four judges in each panel at this wine competition. Judges taste and score each wine independently and then share their scores with each other. If there are differing opinions, then the score given by the majority of judges will be awarded. Sometimes judges discuss their scores to allow for sharing of perspectives on a given wine which can result in changing of a particular score.

     Platinum awards are not earned easily. Out of the 530 entries this year 44 earned Double Platinum and 125 Platinum. Remember, all 530 wines were already given top honors (double gold or gold) within the same year. The platinum judging is truly a competition of the best of the best of the Northwest!

     We are hoping for another exciting announcement soon…stay tuned, wine lovers!

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Our Carmenère made #11 on the Seattle Times ‘Top 50’!

Andy Perdue of Great Northwest Wine has rolled out his ‘Top 50 Regional Wines of 2016’ in The Seattle Times. For the third year in a row our Carmenère has made the list! It made #11! It’s great to see how many other Carmenères made the list.

The quality of this wine starts in the vineyard! We truly believe that the best Carmenère is being grown at Phinny Hill Vineyard by the Beightol family and their amazing team.

To our dear friend, Andy Perdue: stay strong and get better, buddy! Thank you for being such a great supporter for Idaho wines. We are forever grateful to you for that. We are so honored to be included on this list!

The full list of ‘Top 50 Regional Wines’ are here.

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Malbec: Your new favorite Thanksgiving wine.

Are you stressing out about which wines you should serve with Thanksgiving dinner?  Well, Andy Perdue and Eric Degerman of Great Northwest Wine are helping you out this holiday season with some great ideas for wines to pair with your meal.  One of which is our 2014 Malbec, which just received a Gold medal at the Great Northwest Wine Invitational last month and was named ‘Best Malbec’ at the competition of nearly 600 wines that is the sole ‘invite only’ wine competition in the US.

Pairing-wise, our Malbec goes great with cranberry sauce and stuffing!  The dark fruit character of the varietal goes great with the cranberry sauce and its herbaceous notes nicely compliment stuffing.

Check out the article that was featured in the Tri-City Herald:

Great Northwest Wine: Selections for your Thanksgiving table


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The Eagle Food & Wine Festival will be featuring our wines!

Our wines will be featured at the 10th Annual Eagle Food & Wine Festival on Saturday, September 24th at the BanBury Golf Course in Eagle, Idaho. This event is benefitting the Idaho and Utah chapters of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and the Eagle Community Food Bank. Tickets are just $45!

This event will feature local restaurants, wineries and also 10 Barrel Brewing Company. All wines will be paired with culinary delights from local chefs. Clearwater Canyon wines will be paired with hors d’ oeuvres from Jakers Bar & Grill.

To find out more information and to purchase tickets, click here!