For the Andrews family, roots run deep in Washington’s Horse Heaven Hills.
Back in the 1940s, Mike Andrews’ grandfather began a farm in the desolate region south of the Yakima Valley and was responsible for clearing sagebrush from more than 100,000 acres for other farmers.
Today, Andrews grows more than 1,100 acres of vineyards. He began planting Coyote Canyon Vineyard in 1994 after spending years growing other crops and running a cattle business.
Through the years, he has continued to expand his vineyard, adding 700 acres in a three-year spurt from 2006-2009.
In 2006, Andrews decided to move into the winemaking business and purchased Yakima Cellars, a winery in downtown Yakima. The location did not end up working well for the winery, so in 2008, he moved to the Winemakers Loft in Prosser.
“Downtown Yakima wasn’t the best location,” he said. “But being along the highway in Prosser has been great.”
Coyote Canyon Winery has quickly gained a reputation for producing some of Washington’s finest wines, winning accolades and medals for nearly every wine it releases.
The winery has three tiers of wines. The Downtown Red and White are the only holdovers from Yakima Cellars and are Coyote Canyon’s least-expensive offerings. The Coyote Canyon label includes the winery’s standard wines, and the H/H Estates is the reserve line.
The H/H name goes back to Andrews’ time in cattle ranching, when that was the name of his operation.
Under the H/H label, Andrews has wines named for his grandfather (GW Smith Malbec), his father (Robert Andrews Mourvedre) and himself (Michael Andrews Red).
He also has a Cabernet Sauvignon called Big John that was named for a guy who bought one of his bulls in Reno, Nev. Bozak Red, his Bordeaux-style blend, is named for a 2,600-pound bull he once owned.
“Our Bordeaux blend is our biggest, stoutest wine,” he said.
Though Andrews grows 26 varieties at Coyote Canyon, nearly half of his acreage is dedicated to Cabernet Sauvignon, the No. 1 red wine grape in Washington.
“Cabernet is king,” he said.
He sells about 95 percent of his grapes to Ste. Michelle Wine Estates. Most of the rest goes to 18 other wineries, and he holds back just 1 percent for his own 4,800 cases.
Coyote Canyon wines are sold in Washington and Idaho. Ask for them at your favorite wine merchant or call the winery directly at 509-786-7686.Andy Perdue and Eric Degerman run Great Northwest Wine, a news and information website. Go to greatnorthwestwine.com.