Wine Feature of the Month – Woodward Canyon

Just saying “Cystic Fibrosis” is hard enough, let alone explaining it to a child diagnosed with it. The young patients at Seattle Children’s Hospital learn how to pronounce it by saying something a little more approachable and much more beautiful: “Sixty Five Roses.”

What does this have to do with wine and El Gaucho? Let us explain! Every year, Woodward Canyon winery owners Rick and Darcey Small purchase an original piece of artwork for their flagship ”Artist Series” wine, and feature the art on the label. The “65 Roses” artwork, purchased at the Auction of Washington Wines which in part benefits Children’s, is featured on their 2010 vintage. A portion of the proceeds from this 2010 Artist Series will be donated to Seattle Children’s Hospital. The Smalls estimate that the winery has donated over $45,000 to Seattle Children’s Hospital through the Auction of Washington Wines since 2005.

Guests have the opportunity to join Rick and Darcey for a special wine dinner at El Gaucho Tacoma this coming Friday, February 22, where they can try Woodward Canyon’s Artist Series wine, as well as four others.

Rick is a true pioneer for Washington wines, and it doesn’t take long to appreciate his passion. He planted his first grapes in 1977 – chardonnay – on the 3rd generation wheat and cattle farm he grew up on, after brokering a deal with his dad to experiment with this new crop. Just four years later, he launched Woodward Canyon, the second winery in Walla Walla (after friend Gary Figgins of Leonetti). Since then, Small has planted other grape varieties that now encompass 42 acres on the estate, mostly Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon. He also sources from other area vineyards, and works closely with each, including Celilo, Champoux, Charbonneau, DuBrul, Sagemoor, Spring Creek, and Weinbau.

In 1998, Woodward Canyon began producing wines under a second label – Nelms Road – which currently offers Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. Wine dinner guests will get to sample these, in addition to the Woodward Canyon label’s Chardonnay and Merlot, and the special aforementioned Artist Series Cabernet Sauvignon.

The animated and charismatic Rick will guide guests through an incredible five-course gastronomical feast, prepared by El Gaucho’s expert chefs, and beautifully paired with five of his wines. The menu includes seafood citrus salad, petit of lamb, braised pork belly, and of course, Niman Ranch All-Natural Certified Angus Beef®.

“Woodward Canyon Winery has been involved with the Mackay Family and their incredible restaurants for many years and it is a pleasure to return for another winemaker dinner. Woodward Canyon wines are at their best when accompanied with local, seasonal cuisine and I’m very excited to share some of our newest wines with the dinner guests. It should be a fabulous evening,” said Rick.

Join the party and the conversation, and let the good times flow! Make your reservation by calling 253.272.1510 or visit


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