Coyote Moon Vineyards, in the Thousand Islands, has won New York Winery of the Year. The family-owned business from Clayton has earned hundreds of awards in the eight years it’s been making wine.
Coyote Moon is the winery that first brought canned wine to the North Country. Owner Tony Randazzo said the decision to can their wine illustrates the family's mission behind their company. They aim to be creative and unpretentious.
“We didn’t come from a lineage of wine makers. My father always said the reason we are so good at making wine is because we are Italian. It’s always been very much about having a good time and making a good product and trying to make the price reasonable of course,” said Randazzo.
That affordability is what helped the vineyard win the top honor in the state at the New York International Wine Competition.
Adam Levy, also known as the "alcohol professor," founded the event. He said what makes a bottle of wine stand out to his panel of industry judges isn’t just how it tastes, but how much it costs.
“We call this the real world compared to other competitions where it’s an amazing wine but at $55, no one is going to buy one for $55. We include price into the consideration by giving out medals.”
Coyote Moon's wide variety of wines -- 22 different kinds -- also contributed to the overall award. The vineyard won three individual Gold medals at the competition -– one each for their Dry Rose, Fire Boat White and Cherry Bomb wine.
The vineyard uses hybrid grapes developed at the University of Minnesota in their wines. Popular grapes like Chardonnay can’t survive in the North Country’s brutal winters. The cold climate grapes in Coyote Moon’s wine are a cross between wild grapes and more classic grapes used in wine.
“On top of being able to survive really cold temperatures they make pretty darn good wine, thank god,” said Randazzo.
This month, Coyote Moon also won 13 medals for their wines at the San Francisco International Wine Competition.