About Us

Sleeping Dog Wines was founded by Larry “Alpha Winemaker” Oates along with his wife and partner, Joyce “I’d rather be fishing” Oates in 2002.  Their home and small winery overlook the Yakima River, where they reside under the watchful care of Jett, the Sleeping Dog (in training), Syrah, the self-appointed winery cat, Bella, the plump guardian cat, and Jade, still searching for her position in life.

Larry & Joyce

Larry’s first encounters with wine were typical of the ’60′s– shared consumption of the cheapest jug wine, Riunite, Lancer’s Rose, Mateus, and random encounters with a bottle that might have had some pedigree.  To help finance his extended undergraduate career, he took gainful employment at a local wine shop.  The owners encouraged him to become familiar with the classic French vintages offered at the shop, to better advise customers and sell more wine.  The “sample” bottles were one heck of a jump start into the world of fine wine, which wandered down numerous side roads and culminated with Larry gleaning neighbor Bob Buoy’s grapes, experimenting with the winemaker’s art and, ultimately, establishing Sleeping Dog Wines.

Throughout this journey, there has been a canine associate providing amusement, companionship, and oversight. We couldn’t come up with a better symbol that captures our dedication to creating wines that express the true characteristics of Buoy Vineyard grapes.  Besides, we happen to like dogs and the name just seemed to work! Our reds are generally crafted to reach their best expression after several years of aging – let those Sleeping Dogs lie!