Local Pioneering Family
The Oldest Bonded Winery in Whitman Co.
Wawawai Canyon Winery is family owned and operated, and our vineyard is the first commercial vineyard planted in Whitman County since prohibition. We developed the vineyard sites and we hand prune the vines, pick the grapes, crush and ferment the juice and age and bottle the wine. We started in 1994 with a test block of twelve different varietals. Those that flourished in our distinctive climate were planted in the main vineyard, including Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Syrah, Sauvingon Blanc and Rkatsiteli. We have since added Carmenere, Malbec, and Petit verdot for blending.
Ben Moffett, our winemaker, was involved in the vineyard
from an early age and went on to earn a Viticulture and
Enology degree and brings that expertise and an intuitive
sense for wine to the job. if you stop by for a bottle of
wine or a tasting, he can regale you with his love of wine.
David, the vineyard manager, spends a lot of time
working there and it is his favorite place to be, especially
as the sun sets and turns the hills gold.
Stacia might pour your wine in the tasting room or she'll
talk to you about the vineyard, the sustainable practices
we use in the canyon and the history of our winery.
David and Stacia Moffett are retired from Washington State University. It was Stacia's dream to live in a beautiful natural setting and the first time she saw Wawawai Canyon, she said "This is it." The canyon has a rich history and Wawawai is variously translated from the Nez Perce language as "Council Grounds" or "Place of Mosquitoes." An apple orchard was planted in 1877, and a fruit-growing coafter a few years a variety of orchards and a small community were established. Steam boats on the Snake river would dock there to be loaded with fruit. Though the site of much of that history is under water now, due to the Lower Granite Dam, the Moffetts are glad to be able to honor that history and add to the story today.