The Woodward Canyon vineyard was established in the late 1970s on family-owned land and is now one of the oldest vineyards in Walla Walla Valley. In 1981 the Small Family launched Woodward Canyon Winery – only the second winery in the valley. With a deep agricultural heritage and pioneering spirit, this family winery has developed a reputation for innovation and uncompromising quality. Second generation owner, Darcey Fugman-Small, comments: ‘Washington State soils are healthy, and irrigation is judiciously applied, letting the vine roots reach the underlying fractured basalt, all of which leads to fruit that fully expresses the typicity of Cabernet Sauvignon.’
Largely self-taught, Mark Ryan McNeilly founded his winery in 1999, honing the craft of winemaking through rigorous study and advice from some of the area’s most experienced producers. His first vintages were crushed in garages of friends and family, but the Mark Ryan Winery finally settled in Woodinville, WA in 2003. ‘Washington State Cabernet Sauvignon offers the rich, fruit-driven qualities of the great Cabernets of California, while maintaining the balance and elegant complexity of the savoury, structured wines of Europe,’ says Ryan. ‘With extraordinary terroir, world class vineyard management and meticulous cellar practices, we can craft truly unique wines to showcase our remarkable state.’
For former NFL quarterback Drew Bledsoe, owning a winery was an aspiration that combined his passion for fine wine and love of the Walla Walla Valley. Bledsoe returned to his hometown in 2007 to plant his estate vineyard, McQueen, part of SeVein Vineyards of Distinction. He launched Doubleback winery in 2008, with the goal of making ultra-premium Cabernet Sauvignon, and since its first release Doubleback has received numerous accolades. For Bledsoe and winemaker, Josh McDaniels, the focus is on quality. ‘Cabernet Sauvignon is thriving in the Walla Walla Valley,’ says McDaniels. ‘Our dramatic diurnal swings, diverse soil series, long summer days, and a warm climate help us shape classic, true-to-varietal, Cabernet flavours while still achieving great ripeness and energy.’
Double Canyon was founded in the heart of Horse Heaven Hills in 2007 and opened its new, state-of-the-art, LIVE sustainably certified winery for the 2017 harvest. Winemaker Kate Michaud says: ‘Washington Cabernet Sauvignon offers a unique take that marries the great benchmarks from Napa and Bordeaux. We are blurring the line of New World and Old World because of our latitude. Cab gets ripe easily in our hot summers but hangs until October when our night temperatures get pretty low, preserving the note of freshness.’
Col Solare is a partnership between Washington State’s Chateau Ste Michelle and Tuscany’s Marchesi Antinori. Col Solare (Italian for ‘shining hill’) represents the first investment to date in Washington by a European wine company, with a winery and vineyard on Red Mountain. ‘Cabernet on Red Mountain gets consistently ripe every year. It offers the ripe fruit character of the New World with the balance, structure and acidity typical of the Old World,’ explains winemaker Darel Allwine.