About Us

Our philosophy at Sleeping Dog Wines is that dogs and wines share many similar properties.  When they are young, they are lively, colorful, sometimes out of control, and often times lots of fun.  As they get older, they tend to mature, develop character, and become more steady in their outlook and and reliability.  All along, it certainly helps to have a good nose! We tend to produce reds that will usually taste pretty darn good with one or two years in the bottle, but benefit from laying down for several years.  Since many of our customers don’t have the space to lay down their wines at home, we prefer to release these wines with fie or more years of bottle aging, allowing you to appreciate them as they should be tasted.

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 early encounters with wine were typical of the ’60′s– shared consumption of  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 worked at a local wine shop, where the owners encouraged him to take home bottles of classic French vintages, to better advise customers and sell more wine.  These “testers” 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 craft 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  seems to work! Our reds are generally crafted to reach their best expression after several years of aging – let those Sleeping Dogs lie!