July 19, 2021

Clearwater Canyon Cellars - Lewiston, ID Pt. 3

Clearwater Canyon Cellars - Lewiston, ID Pt. 3

Obstacles, we all have to overcome them. Which obstacles did Coco & Karl Umiker have to overcome to reach award-winning success?


Welcome to The Best Five Minute Wine Podcast, I'm your host, Forrest Kelly. From the seed to the glass, wine has a past. Our aim at The Best Five Minute Wine Podcast is to look for adventure at wineries around the globe. After all, the grape minds think alike. Let's start the adventure. Our featured winery is our guest is Coco Umiker of Clearwater Canyon Cellars of Lewiston, Idaho. So initially you only planted a small amount of vines have you expanded that or do you have an outside source? We bought them, Our A.V.A. is on the state line part of the American viticultural area here is in Washington. So we bought from a certified nursery in Washington. Most Idaho vineyards will kind of follow Washington practices in terms of buying certified vines that are from other blocks in Washington. So initially we were growing some of our own, but we also were buying some grapes from Phinny Hill Vineyard in Washington and still buy from them today. But they're amazing. Now that the winery is established to relax a little physically and financially. There are some pretty big obstacles that you had to overcome to make it a success. So there I think there were a couple of things, probably the most obvious one, maybe the fact that we had we were normal people. Very young, normal people with no money. I mean, we lived at the point when we started the winery in 2004, and the Vineyard if you roll back to two thousand three lived in a trailer park for 250 bucks a month. I had twenty-five thousand dollars in student loans. And Karl is driving an eighty-two Toyota Corolla that worked most days and we were just starting out. And it's not really easy because it takes a lot of money to buy all the things for winemaking. And so we had to just throw our bodies at it. And the thing we had going for us is we were both endurance athletes, but even then it was very challenging. So we spend our money on the things that mattered most. But we didn't have a forklift until 2012. So we would like in our winery with an industrial district down in the grain silos and whatnot. They call it North Lewiston here. And we would run around down in that district with a bottle of wine to some of the folks around there that had forklifts and trade a bottle of wine for 15 minutes with their forklift. Yeah, you got to lift some heavy stuff there. You can't be like the and build a pyramid with the rolling rocks, the slabs of stone on logs. And you can be in some of the crazy stuff we did along those lines to get by. But you just have to like really plan out what you were doing. And then when you had your time with the forklift, you'd make good on it, you know, get a lot done quickly. We were just like the sandlot kids. We were good at what we did because we understood the science so well. We knew where we could cut corners and where we absolutely could not. And we made wine styles that we knew we could do well and didn't try to force a square peg in a round hole. So, for example, we didn't do a lot of white wine because you got to keep white. You know, if you're going to do it like the Albariño that we make now, this is the stainless steel fermented. We keep it super cold through fermentation, particularly bottle it early. It's clean, crisp, bright style. You can't do that if you don't have glycol systems and stainless steel tanks. So we didn't try to make that style. It was really rough. I mean, I can't even explain how hard we worked. Karl and I will often think about it now. I mean, we've now got a beautiful new winery facility up here on the farm. It's literally across the yard. We're working on an expansion right now, projects for our new tasting room. It all seems surreal to me because we've spent nine years in that north was an area, most of the time in the dark after hours because we both had day jobs and we would be wet and cold. We'd often sleep in our car or in the winery. It was horrible. And I don't know that I'm super nostalgic about those times, but that was a huge hurdle. It tested us. I've never in my life been that tired for days and days and years, but now we're through that. And it taught us so much and it made us think really hard about every purchase we made. And when we built this new winery, I had no regrets. We need wine questions. And if you've got one, we'd love to hear from you. Go to the website on your phone. Thebestwinepodcast.com Click on the red banner on the right side, it says, Leave a voicemail. You'll be on your way. Thank you for listening. I'm Forrest Kelly. This episode of The Best Five Minute Wine Podcast was produced by IHYSM. If you like the show, please tell your friends and pets and subscribe. Until next time pour the wine and ponder your next adventure.