' Coyote Moon Vineyards - Accolades

Accolades

Coyote Moon Accolades Continue to Grow

By: Joleene  D.  Des Rosiers

 

 

When a winery brings home over 100 medals (111 to be exact) for their colorful and tasty line of wines in a 14-month period, one that hasn’t yet visited Coyote Moon Vineyards in Clayton should consider making a pit stop - just to see what all the fuss is about.

 

“I think our wine is recognized with these medals because of the way we treat the wine-making process. Nothing leaves here unless it’s perfect and we’re real sticklers about that. I would just assume throw wine down the drain then sell it if it’s not the best that it can be,” proprietor Phil Randazzo says.

 

From California to Texas, through the mid-west and back up to New York State, 16 different Coyote Moon wines have been recognized as superb and dressed with gold, silver and bronze medals for their award-winning taste. But the accolades don’t end there. The winery was also honored with the Pacific Rim gold medal for ‘Best Wine Label Series’, which dons the artwork of co-proprietor Mary Randazzo and is polished with the graphic design genius of Rich Clarke, a local BOCES teacher. Their pasta sauce labels and ‘Perfect Pairing’ poster featuring their signature Papa Casa sauce and red wine was created by McElveney & Palozzi Design Group Inc. out of Rochester and won ‘Best Design’ for each. And if that’s not enough, add these accomplishments to the mix: shortly after the winery opened it’s door in the summer of 2009, the Clayton Chamber of Commerce honored the Randazzo family at Coyote Moon with the Tourism Award. Then in June of 2010 they were awarded a proclamation from Jefferson County because of their 2010 medal winning wines. And earlier this year, the Jefferson County Job Development Corporation (JCJDC) presented the vineyard with the ‘New Business Venture Award’.  For Phil Randazzo, the collection of medals and accomplishments are a shining reminder of where the real reward comes from.

 

“The wine that any vineyard puts out there is a reflection of the creativity of the person making it. So when someone walks out of the taste room with a big smile on their face, that’s the real prize. The medals are just a reinforcement of that,” Randazzo says.

 

New York State has grown leaps and bounds when it comes to grape farming. No more are the wines of the Empire State considered secondary to those of California or even Europe. Now they are considered first-class and unique. And this comes from the fact that wineries like Coyote Moon are using designer-type vines that birth cold-hearty grapes; a genius developed in Minnesota by crossing French hybrids with selections of an American species known as the frost grape. The result is a sweeter grape that can sustain -30 degrees, which are the kind of temperatures we often feel during the winter months in the North Country.

 

“The grapes Coyote Moon grows are the types grown in Minnesota for Minnesota in terms of the cold heartiness of them, so that those vines can survive and produce a crop every year,” says Jim Trezise, president of the New York Wine & Grape Foundation.

 “The vines are relatively new to New York State. Wineries started planting them roughly 10-15 years ago up this way. Hats off to Coyote Moon for entering these competitions and doing really well. I see it first hand because I serve as a judge in a number of these competitions where Coyote Moon has done exceptional and people get excited about it. Especially when they find out what the grape is and where it comes from. So the vineyard has done a really good job. It’s good for the region and it’s good for New York State.”

 

“New York State wine is coming of age,” adds Randazzo. “With the kinds of grapes grown here, our wines are sounding off when it comes to honing in on the kind of tastes that today’s consumer is looking for. I see New York gaining huge ground in the next 10 years over California, simply because the consumer is buying wines made in New York now.”

 

Randazzo says that consumers at the Lodi competition in California chose his Naked Chardonnay as a medal winner over California-made chardonnay’s, which he believes is a testament to the power of the cold, hearty New York State grape.

 

Coyote Moon wines can be enjoyed at various establishments throughout Watertown and the Thousand Islands. Peter Beattie of Foxy’s Restaurant in Fishers Landing says he’s happy to have the product ready and available to customers.

 

“I’ve had people ask for it when they’re here,” Beattie says. “They really seem to enjoy it and I’m selling quite a bit of it. I think it promotes a fantastic wine and it’s good for the community. We have a great wine trail up this way,” he adds.

 

Alan Benas, owner of the Thousand Islands Inn in Clayton, agrees.

 

“The wine has been very well received. Coyote Moon is using Frontenac grapes that haven’t been used in local wines up here. So once we explain to the consumer that they’re getting something refreshing and different, they’re happy to try it and thrilled with the taste,” Benas says.

 

“Coyote Moon is becoming very well established in the North Country and we’re getting customers that actually come in here and ask specifically for the wines,” says David Bartlett of Bistro 108 in Watertown. “If they ask for one of their wines that’s not on our list, we have it in the restaurant and we’re able to serve it to them anyway. I’m pleased to hear they’ve taken in so many medals. But I’m not overly surprised. They take wine-making seriously.”

 

“Folks today don’t drink the same kind of wine their parents drank,” Randazzo says. “It used to be that people drank European style wines and in turn taught their family that’s what they should enjoy. But today they just want a wine that tastes good. And we’re all different. We have different tastes. So when we’re in different moods we drink different kinds of wines. In this, you have to make a variety that appeals to everyone. And that’s just what we’ve done.”

 

Coyote Moon manufactures 16 different kinds of wines but stay tuned – they’re not done. For more information, visit www.coyotemoonvineyards.com. And if you haven’t stopped by the vineyard to visit, put it on your list of things to do. Or make a dinner date with one of the North Country establishments that feature Coyote Moon wines:

 -  Bella’s Bistro (Clayton)

 - Bistro 108 (Watertown)

 - Cavallario’s Top of the Bay (Alexandria Bay)

 - Edgewood Resort (Alexandria Bay)

 - Foxy’s (Fishers Landing)

 - Grand-View (Ogdensburg)

 - Sboro’s Restaurant (Watertown)

 - The Clipper Inn (Clayton)


Phil – not a high-production facility. Sell to visitors and internet sales. Emphasis is selling at the farm and selling at restaurants.

California NY Florida, Texas Mid-west, major wine competitions that are internationally known.

Started growing 2008 opened for business in June 2009.


“I think our wine is recognized with these accolades because of the way we treat it. Nothing leaves here unless it’s perfect and we’re real sticklers about that. I would just assume throw wine down the drain then sell it if it’s not the best that it can be,” proprietor Phil Randazzo says.

“Were trying to appeal to everybody’s palette and everybody’s need for a special occasion wine. Red wines go great with red meats and those kind of dishes and white wines go with delicate dishes like perch or chicken. So you need to have a selection of different meals or different functions. Sometimes you just want to sit on the back deck or the boat and have a glass of wine. So there’s a wine for those folks as well,” Randazzo says.-       focuses on quality. Not status. Not trying to imitate California or France. Trying to make a product that appeals to the majority.

“They don’t like the same kind of wine their parents liked. It used to be that folks went after a European style wine and they were taught that’s what they should enjoy. But folks today just want a wine that tastes good,” he says. “We’re all different. We like different tastes. When we’re in different moods, we drink different kinds of wines. So you have to make a variety that appeals to everyone. And that’s just what we’ve done.”

 

 “The wine that one puts out there is a reflection of the creativity of the person making it. So when someone walks out of the taste room with a big smile on their face, that’s the real prize. The medals are just a reinforcement of that,” Randazzo says.

“New York State wine is coming of age. With the kinds of grapes grown here, the wines are ringing a bell when it comes to hitting the kind of tastes that today’s consumer is looking for. I see us gaining huge ground in the next 10 years over California simply because of the consumer buying the kinds of wines made in New York now. And as they taste them, they buy them more and more.” “Today’s buyers are buying sweeter, more aromatic wines,” Randazzo says.

 More wine drinkers than beer drinkers (Nielson 2009)

“The cold hearty varieties that we grow up here have a unique taste and you just can’t get them anywhere else. They need the cold climate to thrive. They’re designer vines, developed specifically for regions like this that will withstand temperatures like this, minus 40 degrees.”

 

“When they taste this wine, there is no standard for it. It’s a new wine, a new variety that’s puzzling people. But they’re walking out of here with cases of it because they really like the taste. It’s distinctly different,” Randazzo says.


Peter Beattie of Foxy’s Restaurant in Fishers Landing is one of those restaurants. And he’s happy to have the product ready and available to customers. “I’ve had people ask for it when they’re here. They really seem to enjoy it and I’m selling quite a bit of it. I think it promotes a fantastic wine and it’s good for the community. We have a great wine trail up this way,” Beattie says.

 

Mike Simpson, owner of Clipper Inn in Clayton “Their wines are very well received. And as local businesses, we’re all in this together. So this is good for everybody. There is an interest in the local wines here, so it was easy to make the decision to bring Coyote Moon into our establishment.”


 Alan Benas, Thousand Islands Inn (been carrying it a while.) “The wine has been very well received. Coyote Moon is using Frontenac grapes that haven’t been used in local wines up here. So once we explain to the consumer that they’re getting something refreshing and different, they’re happy to try it and thrilled with the taste,” Benas says.

 

David and Robyn, Bistro 108 (Watertown) “Coyote Moon is becoming very well established in the North Country and we’re getting customers that actually come in here and ask specifically for the wines. If they ask for a wine that’s not on our list, we have it in the restaurant and we’re able to serve it to them anyway. I’m pleased to hear they’ve taken in so many medals. But I’m not surprised, because they take wine-making seriously.