What started as a dry plot of land restored from its World War II bomb-tests, has grown to over 1100 acres of quality wine grapes at Coyote Canyon Vineyard, in the Horse Heaven HIlls of Eastern Washington’s Columbia Basin.
At that time, a vineyard was the furthest thing from George Smith’s mind. George partnered with his son-in-law Bob Andrews, and after years of laboring over unforgiving dry land with meager wheat yields, the family drilled their first well in 1953. By 1974, Bob’s son, Mike, returned to the farm where the chief products were then irrigated wheat and Hereford cattle. Mike had a passion for cattle, and focused the next 25 years raising Herefords and growing various irrigated crops.
In 1994, they planted the first 20-acre plot of Cabernet Sauvignon grape vines along a gentle southern slope in the middle of the family property. The vineyard grew slowly, but steadily, over the next years, edging out wheat, grass, watermelons, corn, and a variety of other crops. In 2006, Mike’s son, Jeff, joined the business, bringing with him both business and legal experience. Since then, the vineyard has over doubled in size, expanding to over 1100 acres of the best grape-growing acres in the Horse Heaven Hills. The dedication to the land and attention to detail has produced more than 25 internationally awarded wines.
In 2006, Mike Andrews started Coyote Canyon Winery, bringing the vineyard operation full circle. Then in 2009 HH Estates Reserve Estate Wines were created as a tribute to the Andrews family history, the Horse Heaven Hills terroir and the award winning fruit and wines produced.
Each of Coyote Canyon Winery's H/H Estates Reserve labels are dedicated to the three generations of the Andrews and the world class, award winning Herefords raised on their ranch.
Coyote Canyon Vineyard
Coyote Canyon Vineyards is located in the Horse Heaven Hills, a newer AVA that sits high above the Yakima Valley/Prosser to the North and the majestic Columbia River to the South. As Washington State’s seventh AVA, Horse Heaven Hills is only the second Washington State AVA selection created due to “specific terroir and climate." Horse Heaven Hills AVA covers over 570,000 acres of seemingly endless grass lands, wheat farms and vineyards. The vineyard provides fruit for many award winning wines including Northstar, Columbia Crest and many others.
The partners of Coyote Canyon Vineyard relentlessly strive to grow world-class wine grapes. Our grapes are consistently used by nearly 30 of the Northwest's top wineries to produce some of the best, and highest rated, wines in the world. We proudly grow 25 varieties of grapes on our 1125-acre vineyard. Our largest contract is with Ste. Michelle Wine Estates. The majority of the grapes provided go to Columbia Crest Winery, but we also contract with nearly 30 other Northwest Wineries.
We are proud to have so many supporting and faithful partners in the industry. Coyote Canyon Vineyard pledges to both winemakers and consumers to continue to produce complex, world-class wine grapes.
“You can make bad wine from good grapes, but you can’t make good wine from bad grapes. And you have great grapes, my friend.” Gino Cuneo, Gino Cuneo Cellars.
Justin Michaud has been involved in the wine industry since 2001, with several years in Washington State. Justin’s introduction into the wine business began in the Santa Cruz Mountains of California, with a company responsible for all phases of grape growing over several different sites. These sites ranged in elevation from sea level to 2,000 feet and encompassed several different varietals, soil types, and pest pressures.
After a few years in California Justin began work with Canoe Ridge Vineyards in Walla Walla, Washington. Here he transitioned from working in the vineyards to working in the winery. He was able to work with several gifted winemakers, found he thoroughly enjoyed the winemaking, and committed to learning everything he could about the making of great wine. He soon had the opportunity to begin as Cellar Master with Bergevin Lane Vineyards, a 1,000 ton custom crush facility. At BLV he was able to work closely with the winemaker and deal with several different vineyard sites.
In 2005 Justin spent a few months in New Zealand as part of the winemaking crew at Kim Crawford wines. This opportunity to work in another country allowed him to experience new practices and techniques used in winemaking which he continues to incorporate into his work. On return from New Zealand, he began work at Ash Hollow Winery where he moved from Assistant Winemaker to Winemaker during his 5 years with them. This was another learning opportunity to work with one of his mentors, Steve Clifton.
In 2009 he joined Goose Ridge Vineyards as their Cellar Master working with Charlie Hoppes and Joe Hudon, processing 5,000 tons in his first vintage and almost 10,000 tons by the time he left. Justin advanced to Winemaker for their second label, Stone Cap.
Justin began with Coyote Canyon Winery in 2014 and we are enjoying having him as an integral part of our team.