Woodward Canyon Winery, named for the canyon Rick’s family farmed and where the Estate Vineyard is now located, was established in 1981 by Rick Small and his wife, Darcey Fugman-Small. Woodward Canyon was the second winery in the Walla Walla Valley and the Smalls were instrumental in the process of obtaining federal approval of the Walla Walla Valley appellation. The winery has consistently produced premium, age-worthy cabernet sauvignons and merlots as well as chardonnays, and in 1990 was the first Washington winery to have a wine placed on the Wine Spectator’s Top 10 list.
Rick planted the first of forty-six acres of the Woodward Canyon Estate Vineyard in 1976 on his family’s dryland wheat ranch. Rick’s roots go deep on that land which has been in the family for three generations. The hillside vineyard now includes cabernet sauvignon, merlot, cabernet franc, sauvignon blanc, chardonnay and barbera, as well as several experimental varieties. The Estate Vineyard is Certified Sustainable by LIVE and is Salmon Safe. The winery also purchases grapes from selected growers and is a partner is Champoux Vineyard which lies above the Columbia River in the Horse Heaven Hills appellation. Woodward Canyon has a strong belief that the quality of the wines is established in large part in the vineyards.
The Smalls continue to be involved in the day to day operation of the winery and vineyard, with Rick serving as Director of Production and Darcey as General Manager. In 2010, their children Sager Small and Jordan Dunn-Small joined in the ownership of the winery and after working elsewhere have both returned to be a part of the family business. Winemaker Kevin Mott and Sales Director Thomas Woodley were also included as partners in the winery in 2011.
In 1998, Woodward Canyon also began producing wines under its second label, Nelms Road. Nelms Road was developed to produce a delicious and affordable red blend and a cabernet sauvignon. All Woodward Canyon and Nelms Road wines are produced at the Walla Walla Valley winery.
Woodward Canyon is a founding member of the Walla Walla Valley Wine Alliance and of Walla Walla Valley Vinea, the Winegrower’s Sustainable Trust.