Coyote Moon gets gold at International Taster’s Guild Competition

Coyote Moon Vineyards, recipient of over 700 medals, recently was awarded a significant prize at the International Tasters Guild Competition held in Grand Rapids, Mich.

In the competition of 1,600 wines, Coyote Moon, owned by the Randazzo family, was named Gold Medal Champion because its wines garnered more gold and double gold medal points than any other winery. It accomplished the feat without a single vitis vinifera grape variety wine.

The Thousand Islands region’s cold, long winters made it impossible to grow the traditional vitis vinifera grapes, native to the Mediterranean region. The biggest wine varieties — cabernet, Chardonnay, pinot noir and pinot grigio — use vinifera grapes.

In 2007, the Randazzo family made it their mission to introduce new grape varieties, northern climate grapes, when they transformed a 400-acre abandoned farm in the town of Clayton into their family vineyard and winery.

Other wineries in the north country have taken a similar approach. For example, Thousand Islands Winery at Collins Landing specializes in cold-hardy varieties like Frontenac.

Coyote Moon spokeswoman Christina Laparr said wines from approximately 10 countries were judged at the Tasters Guild competition.

The Randazzo family was inspired on a family trip to Sicily to meet long-lost relatives and learn more about their 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 newfound passion to continue the legacy.

The Randazzo family built relationships with University of Minnesota and Cornell University to plant relatively unknown, yet promising new grape varieties known as northern climate grapes.

“These grapes love the soil, they love the exposure, they thrive well in the cold climate, and they are just magnificent grapes,” Phil Randazzo, Coyote Moon owner, said in a news release.

By Watertown Daily Times Staff