Grape grower association gives awards
Rob Andrews of Andrews Vineyards and McKinley Springs Winery in Horse Heaven Hills received the grower of the year award.
The Washington Association of Wine Grape Growers, during its February annual meeting held in Kennewick, Washington, honored several members for their contributions to the wine industry.
Grower of the Year
The Erick Hanson Memorial Grower of the Year award was presented to Rob Andrews of Horse Heaven Hill’s Andrews Vineyards and McKinley Springs Winery. Wine grape pioneer Andrews planted the family’s first wine grapes in 1980, totaling 32 acres after 1981. Today, the family has more than 2,000 acres of wine grapes planted, selling to more than 25 wineries and producing about 5,000 cases of wine annually. Andrews is a past Grape Association board member and is active in the Horse Heaven Hills Wine Growers association.
Horse Heaven Hills pioneering couple Don and Linda Mercer received the Industry Service award for their vision and dedication to the state’s wine industry. Don and his father planted the first Cabernet Sauvignon grapes at Mercer Ranch Vineyards in Alderdale in 1972. A winery was added 1985, but was closed five years later.
In the early 1970s, Don helped found an irrigation district for the Horse Heaven Hills area and served as its first president. During his years of industry service, he served as president of Benton County Farm Bureau, two years as president of the Grape Association, and he helped found the Prosser Wine and Food Fair. Linda worked at Columbia Crest Winery for 17 years, was involved in the Columbia Valley Winery Association, Wine Yakima Valley, and was the first president of the Horse Heaven Hills Wine Growers.
The Lifetime Achievement award was given posthumously to Glenn Coogan, 58, who died last September. Coogan was vice president of Northwest operations for Ascentia Wine Estates, responsible for winery operations at Columbia, Covey Run, and Ste. Chapelle wineries. He was vice chair of the Washington Wine Commission and chair of the Washington Wine Industry Foundation. He transitioned from a 15-year career in the juice industry to wine in 1997, when he began working at Ste. Michelle Wine Estates.
Sun Mountain Lodge in Washington’s Methow Valley received the grape growers’ Restaurant Appreciation Award. Brian Charlton, general manager, and wine director Don Elsing were recognized for Sun Mountain’s extensive Northwest wine cellar that lists 600 wine labels, 400 of which are from Washington.