Canoe Ridge's Former Winemaker Launches New Washington Cabernet Venture

John Abbott teams up with vineyard owner Ken Harrison to make a limited-production wine from the Walla Walla region.
May 6, 2002

John Abbott, who left his position as winemaker at Washington's Canoe Ridge Vineyard in March with hopes of starting a small winery, has teamed up with vineyard owner Ken Harrison to make a new limited-production estate Cabernet Sauvignon from the Walla Walla appellation.

Harrison and his wife, Ginger, own the Mill Creek Inn, a four-room bed-and-breakfast outside Walla Walla, in eastern Washington. They purchased the property in 2000 with plans to convert the barn into a high-end winery.

Abbott will make Cabernet Sauvignon from grapes grown at the Harrisons' 17.5-acre Heather Hill Vineyard, which was planted last year. The site abuts Seven Hills Vineyard, the source of several prominent Washington reds, from producers such as L'Ecole No. 41 and Leonetti. For the initial vintages of the as yet unnamed project, which is expected to start with the 2002 harvest, Abbott will also source grapes from other area growers, while the Heather Hill vines mature.

Abbott joined Chalone Wine Group in 1990, starting out at its Acacia Winery in California. In 1994, he moved to Walla Walla to start Canoe Ridge, which currently makes about 37,000 cases annually, including Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and small amounts of Chardonnay and Gewürztraminer.

With their new label, Abbott and Harrison plan to start very small and not grow beyond 5,000 cases annually.

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Check out our recent ratings of Canoe Ridge wines.

Learn more about John Abbott, Canoe Ridge and Walla Walla:

  • Feb. 14, 2002
    2002 Brings New Positions for West Coast Winemakers

  • Feb. 8, 2001
    Chalone Boosts Investment in Washington's Canoe Ridge Vineyard

  • Nov. 15, 1998
    Team Walla Walla

  • June 15, 1995
    Canoe Ridge Materializes in Walla Walla With Chardonnay, Will Soon Release a Merlot
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