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 in part two of our conversation with Table Mountain Winery in Huntley, Wyoming. Patrick explains what a lawyer is doing running a winery. Focused on agricultural law, natural resource law in Wyoming. We're pretty arid, so water laws a very important aspect to anybody in agriculture in Wyoming. Just once the entire west, just water rights protecting what we have. And I mean, that's the basic one. We have a lot of endangered species in Wyoming that producers have to work around and the ins and outs of trying to keep agriculture going and the regulations that come out of the industry that producers have to face and how to deal with those. Yeah, you are facing some different obstacles. I see where there are twenty four species in Wyoming that are endangered, including the black footed ferrets, the Canadian lynx, yellow billed cuckoo, some very familiar with what I see early on in the farm before wine became a crop, you had sugar beets, beans, alfalfa, corn. Throughout the decades, our farm is always in a diversified farm and we kind of change with the way the industry goes. And in the 2000s, the sugar beet industry was leaving our county and leaving our area. It wasn't you have to be pretty big scale this thing. And so, again, my thesis was just looking at ways to take small acreages, keep them in agriculture and maybe be able to do something different with them. And, you know, growing grapes is the most value added ag products you can get from, you know, from berried bottle and from the ground up. You're in control the grapes. And if you choose to go the winery route, it truly is a 100 percent value added ag product, which was something that our state was a little behind on. And we had some microbreweries, but we just didn't have an industry that really focused on that at the time. So you've got this plan put together and then what happened in 2004 kind of threw you curve. All these grapes on the ground. I think by 2004 we had five or six acres producing. We found a winery in a nearby town, Cheyenne, Wyoming, and they were producing wines with grapes from Colorado. And they said, we'll buy anything you grow. But we weren't too worried about the winery part because we had a market. And that spring when we were going to start to kind of have our first harvest, we called them and checked in on them and they said, oh, we're closing, we're disbanding of the company and we're no longer going to be a winery. So our kick start with our business plan that we had created really went into play immediately in the 10000 that we won, disappeared very quickly by the time we had our old farmhouse that we converted quickly and changed a few things around and were able to have a makeshift winery, probably home brewers had a better set up than we did when we first became a winery. But we we were able to get it done and and we had no idea of what would happen with harvest. We started kind of home winemaking on the side, but we we sure learned a lot just by the grapes coming in and having to figure out how to go from there, Having the experience of being a farmer with the sugar beets and alfalfa and the corn, etc. I'm sure that helped a little bit. But there had to be a learning curve in growing grapes. Grapes are very drought tolerant, if you will. I mean, we planted our grapes in the midst of one of the worst droughts that we ever had. We kind of joke for about three or four years. They haven't seen much water at all. We went to a few workshops and they said, you have to make the vines struggle. You can't over water, then hibernate in the winter. And this was all based on the Eastern Nebraska University, Nebraska. And we went to a few workshops in the summer and we were at one place and there was a huge lake there and they said, oh, we got six inches of rain last night. That's just not a lake. It's just a little pond. And we started laughing and we went home immediately and turned on the drip line. So the grapes, because we took the whole don't give them water and don't baited them. The heart and our brains haven't seen six inches of rain in the seven years that they were developing. And so we took a little different mindset about midstream when the vines were six to seven to make sure we were giving them adequate water. I do think the first year we were tougher than we should have been. That's what makes our planet so rough. We will be in the negative twenty below in December and then we'll be one hundred in July. So our grapes see the spectrum of ranging temperatures. 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.
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, GRAPE minds think alike. Let's start the adventure. Our featured winery is: We head to my hometown. It's where I grew up and at 10 years of age, delivering the Lewiston Morning Tribune newspaper spent many of Saturday mornings canvassing the neighborhood looking for lawn mowing and car washing jobs so that I could head to Lewis-Clark State College play pinball all day long. I also learned to hunt and fish accumulated hundreds of miles in the Army Corps of Engineer levee system. I also began my radio career here as a senior in high school and started working full-time at KOZE FM and AM. We head to the panhandle of Idaho to the city of Lewiston.
My name is Coco Umiker and I am a winemaker and co-owner of Clearwater Canyon Cellars.
Ok, Coco, you've really built Clearwater Canyon Cellars into something impressive and we'll get to that later. But where did this begin?
Well, it really started with my love of science and strangely, it stretches all the way back to when I was a little kid. But I was 11 years old. I had cancer. And that ended up, you know, I being in hospitals a lot and around medical people. And so when I took off for college, I'm much better now. I'm good. Got through it in good shape. But when I went off to college, I thought, you know what? I'm going to be a pediatric oncologist and the undergrad premed program at the University of Idaho. They encourage students to do a double major in microbiology, molecular biology, and biochemistry. I got into it and I loved it.
Wow. That's very ambitious, microbiology, OK? I could see how that could dovetail into winemaking is Louis Pasteur. You're kind of originated that and then molecular biology, seeing how the biological activity in and between cells and then biochemistry, the processes with living organisms, I could see where that would be kind of all-consuming with your time and your thoughts and your studies. But I'm guessing that's not the course that you ended up taking
Partway through. I just realized that I wanted to do something more creative. I wanted to be outside. I wanted to be able to come back to my family farm in Lewiston and do something with that place. I never lived in Lewiston, I lived in Boise. I spent all my summers up in the Lewis and farm with my grandparents. And so I stayed in that degree and was just this hardcore science nerd. So University of Idaho and Washington State University are about eight miles apart in Washington State University is the leader in the northwest in terms of wine programs. And so it was very wonderful for me because I was able to actually cross some classes. And in the program over there, I was so sold. I mean, I just when I found and discovered fermentation and wine and all of that, I was like I knew that's what I wanted to do. I actually planted so my boyfriend at the time and I ended up becoming my husband he I second to last year of my undergrad. So I was two thousand three, asked my grandfather if we could plant a quarter acre of vines on the family farm down here, and he let us do it. And then in two thousand four, we started a winery in a garage.
So in two thousand four, you start the winery with your boyfriend at the time, Karl, who turns out to be your husband later to start the winery, because you've got all of these angel investors lined up and you've got all this money and you think it's a great idea. Let's start a winery. Right?
We had three other partners in the beginning of Clearwater Canyon because we were young and we had no money. At that point, Karl had paid off his student loans. You got a sweet deal. He actually grew up in Arkansas and his dad was a professor at the University of Arkansas in the music department. So he got a really great education for a little cheaper because he had a father that was faculty they gave, you know, children faculty a better deal. And so that was fantastic. So he was able to get a chemistry degree from the University of Arkansas and came out here to Idaho on a research assistantship to study soil science and earn his master's degree. And that's what I did at WSU. I was on a research assistantship. You're both able to kind of work on projects that in his case that the farming industry was really interested in. He did soils work and I was studying Brettanomyces, which was a hot topic in the wine world at the time.
In part two of our interview with Coco Umiker of Clearwater Canyon Cellars, we explore what she loves. Oh, my God. Yeah. I mean, I love.
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.