' Coyote Moon Vineyards - 2016 Gold Medal Champion
Coyote Moon Named 2016 Gold Medal Champion

Coyote Moon Vineyards, recipient of over 700 medals, recently made history at the International Taster’s Guild Competition of 1,600 wines as their 2016 Gold Medal Champion. Joe Borrello, President of the Tasters Guild, stated, “the trophy was awarded to Coyote Moon Vineyards because their wines garnered more Gold and Double Gold medal points than any other winery and they accomplished this feat without a single Vitis Vinifera grape variety wine”. Coyote Moon Vineyards is the first winery in the 29 years of the competition to win the trophy without a single Vinifera wine.

When you hear about wine, often you only hear about the biggest varieties—Cabernet, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Grigio—also known as Vinifera grapes. Little do most wine drinkers know there are thousands of different grape varietals grown. In 2007, the Randazzo family made it their mission to introduce the world to new and unique grape varietals, known as Northern Climate Grapes, when they transformed a 400-acre abandoned farm in the town of Clayton in Upstate New York into their family vineyard and winery.

Their story began on a family trip to Sicily to meet long lost relatives and learn more about their family history. In the homes of their relatives, bottles of wine were shared and stories were told about the long tradition of grape growing and winemaking in the Randazzo family. Inspired, the Randazzos returned home with a new found passion to continue this legacy.

The Thousand Islands regions cold, long winters made it impossible to grow the traditional Vitis Vinifera grapes. But that did not matter—for generations in the old world, the Randazzo family had been making wine based on blending the flavors of the harvest each year, not based on a particular grape varietal. Italy has more of a variety of indigenous grapes than anywhere in the world and many vineyards have multiple varieties planted in one row. The Randazzo built relationships with University of Minnesota and Cornell University to plant relatively unknown, yet promising new grape varieties known as Northern Climate Grapes.

The grapes were created through a hybridization program and are extremely hardy. Northern Climate grapes can survive -40 degrees and extremely harsh conditions. They were created to thrive in some of the harshest conditions and produce grapes respected for their high acidity and brix levels. These grapes are a perfect fit for the brutal weather conditions in Upstate New York and the flavors are phenomenal.

Phil Randazzo, owner, is extremely passionate about their potential; “We are only now scratching the surface of what I think can happen with these grapes. God gives us these wonderful grapes here. I can’t explain why they make such great wine but they do. These grapes love the soil, they love the exposure, they thrive well in the cold climate, and they are just magnificent grapes,” Randazzo says, “making extraordinary, award-winning, nationally acclaimed wines.”

The entire Randazzo family and a small crew of dedicated employees work diligently day and night for over the past 9 years to tend to the grapevines, harvest the flavorful grape clusters, transform them into delicious wine, and then introduce them to the world. “We spare no expense, always striving to find how far can we take this wine, how good can it be”, said Randazzo. It has been a long journey that has perfectly coincided with the many Americans embracing the simple pleasures of enjoying wine that allows them to discover new locally grown varietals that are unique and obscure yet rival the flavors of the major grapes.

These new Northern Climate wines have fascinated many wine drinkers and wine experts. The La Crescent grape varietal is a new found favorite for adventurous Riesling drinkers and the Marquette varietal was the only New York State red wine to win a Best of Class Double Gold medal at the largest competition of American wines in the world. The American Wine Society has named the Brianna, Frontenac, and Marquette wines as three of their Top 21 Wines to watch.

We invite you to visit any of the three Coyote Moon Vineyards locations to sample the locally grown, award-winning wines and discover for yourself the new trend in winemaking. Cheers!
Post By:   Christina