On faith that the Horse Heaven Hills would be a promising grape-growing region, the passion of some of Washington's best-known winemakers and with the cooperation of area farmers, Canoe Ridge Vineyard went from a dream to reality starting in 1989. Its winery in Walla Walla followed in 1994.


1989 – A group of Washington farmers and businessmen partner up with Sandpiper Farms to plant 44 acres of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot in Paterson, WA. Early drivers of Canoe Ridge Vineyard and their respective wineries today include Gary Bergevin (Bergevin Lane), Norm McKibben (Pepper Bridge), Rick Small (Woodward Canyon), Terry Tucker (Reininger), Mike Hogue (Hogue Cellars), among several others.

1990 – 52 Washington shareholders forge a Canoe Ridge Vineyard partnership with Chalone Wine Group of Napa, CA for a major vineyard expansion and a soon-to-follow winery.

1994 – Noted as an emerging wine destination, Canoe Ridge Vineyard’s winery opens at the historic trolley house in Walla Walla. John Abbott (working with Chalone in CA since 1990) is appointed winemaker and relocates to Walla Walla.

2001 – Chalone buys out shareholders for full control and ramps up production with a winery expansion to a companion building next door.

2005 – Horse Heaven Hills becomes an American Viticultural Area.

2011 – Precept Wine acquires Canoe Ridge Vineyard and Winery from Diageo. Winemaker Bill Murray (a former Chalone winemaker as well and a good friend of John Abbott) is appointed.

2014 – Canoe Ridge Vineyard Estate Vineyard celebrates the 25th anniversary of its first planting, and the winery’s 20th anniversary.