Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The Future of Woodward Canyon

In 1981 this once small winery was one of the very first to claim a home in the history of Walla Walla wineries. Years later, it became known for its world class wines.

I can remember being asked several times where Woodward Canyon was located. Many a tourist would mention they had passed through the small town of Lowden in Walla Walla County and couldn't seem to find the winery. When I would tell them it was located next to the old school house L'Ecole No. 41, they would often comment, "Oh come on - you're kidding right? There's no way a world class winery would be located in a quonset hut."

Welcome to Walla Walla, where we still believe in agriculture, dedication and craftsmanship first, and fancy French-style chateaus aren't a necessity when it comes to making world class wines. Of course the quonset hut would evolve. Later came the new tasting room for Woodward Canyon - a charming 1870's farm house cottage that was remodeled and surrounded by beautiful gardens. Just a few years ago the stunning Reserve House, near the neighboring vineyard, was built for private tastings and dinners.

In keeping with craftsmanship and dedication, this week Rick Small and Darcey Fugman-Small, founders of Woodward Canyon announced their expansion of shareholders to their winemaker, Kevin Mott and their Sales Director, Thomas Woodley. Mott and Woodley will not only join Rick and Darcey in ownership, but also join the Small's adult children, Jordan Dunn and Sager Small.

In 2003, Mott and Woodley both joined Woodward Canyon and each one has extensive backgrounds in vineyard and winery management. Rick announced on behalf of his family and the winery that it was clear to them that Mott and Woodley were integral to their operations and to the future of Woodward Canyon. Rick and Darcey will continue to have daily involvement and management of the winery.

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