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Nicky’s Blog: “Woodward Canyon”

Woodward Canyon wine bottles

Nicky’s Blog: “Woodward Canyon”

For the past couple of years I have been enjoying Woodward Canyon wine. From the moment I tried the 2014 Artist Series Cabernet Sauvignon, I fell in love. I believe my exact words were “now, that’s good juice.” The Artist Series had everything I wanted in a Washington State Cabernet. The wine had a gorgeous dark red-purple color. The wine’s aroma had beautiful notes of black fruit, herbs and pencil lead. The palate knocked my socks off with structured and integrated tannins, notes of black fruit, spice and vanilla with a lush velvety finish. I loved it so much and understood its aging capability.  So, I decided to purchase a case for my personal collection. As I tried more wines from their line, Woodward Canyon quickly became one of my all-time favorite Washington wineries. I started running their second label, Nelms Road, on my holiday menus.  Nelms Road I consider to be my biggest “bang for your buck” wines on my list.


If you are a reader of my blogs, then you will have guessed by now I decided to go to Woodward Canyon in Walla Walla. I wanted to see for myself what inspired this family to produce such quality wines.  A little history on the winery: Woodward Canyon was established in 1981 by Rick Small and his wife, Darcey. The winery is named after the canyon where his family farmed for generations and where his estate is currently located. It is one of the oldest wineries in Walla Walla, and the Smalls played a huge role in getting Walla Walla federal approval to become its own appellation in 1984. Rick and Darcey’s children, Jordan and Sager, are part owners and are transitioning into leadership roles.

I got the honor and privilege of meeting Jordan at our group’s private tour. My general manager, Brian Charlton, has such fond memories of Jordan’s father pouring his wines in our dining room at the Lodge 25 years ago. I was excited to get the chance to connect with Jordan as the next generation coming in. We met Jordan at Woodward’s private tasting room above their library. Jordan had a humble nature to her. She sweetly spoke of her father and family history as she tasted our little group through most of their lineup.  Each wine was fantastic. Mostly known for their Bordeaux style reds, they also produce fabulous Italian varietals. We enjoyed a lovely Barbera and decided to purchase a few bottles for personal celebrations.


The grand finale was getting the tour through the library. I can honestly say I have never visited a better wine library. We saw a complete collection of vintages starting with the 1982, all through their current release. 36 years of beautiful wine! I was surrounded by Washington wine history. After seeing my excitement in that moment a humble, reserved Jordan became joyful and giddy. An emotional state I equally matched. My tone became full of child-like wonder as I pulled out vintages of great importance to me, such as my birth year, graduation year and wedding date. Jordan was able to describe flavor profiles of these vintages and how they are drinking currently. And just like that I felt a bond between us.


I don’t always know if my friends and family truly understand how deep my love for wine goes. To me it’s poetry in a bottle, a living expression of a human soul meant to bring people together. Cheers!


Please contact me at 509-996-2211 ext. 707 to purchase a bottle of Woodward Canyon!

“My love for food and wine is due to the social aspect of sharing the experience with my family and friends.”