WSU alum and celebrity friend-duo start Walla Walla winery

After three days of drinking wine and eating food, Stephen Amell asked Andrew Harding, “how do we do this all of the time?”



Andrew Harding and Stephen Amell before Nocking Point Wines’ founders dinner.


A simple road trip for two friends setting off to a Blue Jays game in Oakland, California, turned into a three-day wine-tasting bender full of laughter and telling stories.

This trip was the beginning of Nocking Point Wines, a Walla Walla winery that has been selling wine since 2013.

The two friends and co-founders are WSU alum Andrew Harding and actor Stephen Amell, who is known for the leading role he plays in the CW Television Network’s “Arrow” as the DC Comics superhero Green Arrow.

Harding and Amell named the winery Nocking Point inspired by Amell’s character, whose signature weapon is a bow, Harding said.

“Nocking point is where you nock an arrow on the bow,” Amell said. “[It’s] the actual spot where the arrow slides in on the bow and where the shaft of the arrow touches the bow.”

Harding, who graduated from WSU in 2005, said he grew up in Walla Walla.

He moved to Los Angeles in 2006 and began his career in the technology and entertainment industry. There, Harding met Amell through Harding’s wife.

On their road trip to Oakland, the two friends were hoping to stop in Paso Robles, California, to grab a bite to eat, Harding said. The “quick lunch” stop was at a winery, and it turned into delicious food and wine detour lasting three days.

They bounced from winery to vineyard and, at the very last minute, hightailed to Oakland in order to make it to the baseball game, Harding said.

“I’ll never forget as we were driving away, Stephen looked at me and he was like, ‘dude, how do we do this all of the time?’” Harding said.

That’s when the light bulb went off in Harding’s head and he thought that he and Amell should start a wine business, he said.

With Amell’s fan base and Harding’s expertise in technology and direct consumer sales, Harding said they worked to see if people would care if Green Arrow made wine.

Their first project began with purchasing and commissioning 125 cases of a red blend that they called ‘Year One’, based on a classic Green Arrow comic of the same name, Amell said.

Within just 30 minutes of Nocking Point’s website going live, all of the wine was almost gone, Amell said. Their wines, made to appeal to Amell’s fan base, are what initially led the company to succeed. Amell said they offered the wines to fans through social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter.

“[Nocking Point], it’s ours. That’s what makes it stand out,” Amell said. “It’s just two buddies that’re looking to make a good wine. That’s approachable. That makes people laugh.”

All of Nocking Point’s wines are ultra-premium and pull from the same vineyards as the highest-ranking wineries in Walla Walla, Harding said.

He and Amell have also collaborated with over 30 different celebrities and talent, such as Brandi Rhodes, Bravo TV and The Real Housewives and Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis, to make wines, Harding said.

They let celebrities pick and curate their favorite wines, Harding said. The celebrities get to name and brand the wine however they want, and together, they produce and release these wines for fans to purchase.

Nocking Point has also raised and donated over $2.5 million to charities all over the country, Harding said, including Thorn and the Skatepark Project.

One of their major donations came from a Pinot Noir wine launch in 2020, of which 100% of the profits went to COVID-19 response charities, Harding said.

Along with giving donations and doing collaborations, Nocking Point offers custom-made labels; anyone can design and order personal wine labels for their bottles, Harding said.

Harding was never big into wine tasting when he lived in Walla Walla, he said. As he continued to go back, he noticed wine was the catalyst for bringing music festivals, restaurants and wineries to town.

“There are people that travel to Walla Walla once a year, every year, to experience Nocking Point and experience what we built,” Amell said. “It’s special because it’s us and it represents us.”

Nocking Point’s warehouse is located in one of the Port of Walla Walla’s buildings at the Walla Walla Regional Airport, and its tasting room is located in downtown Walla Walla at 225 East Alder St.