The Puppy Years

Yakima River from Sleeping Dog Wines

Larry moved to the West Coast in the 1980s to study environmental  law in Oregon, where he discovered the burgeoning Northwest wine industry and met an intriguing young woman named Joyce.  In 1987, Larry and Joyce celebrated their engagement by sharing a 1970 Chateau Pomerol – the last holdout from his undergraduate booty.  They married and relocated to Northern Virginia for a few years, but the Northwest kept calling. By the early ’90’s they had established their home in the Yakima Valley, heart of Washington State wine country.

Larry & Kevin

Larry began to practice the vintner’s art with grapes gleaned from the Buoy Vineyard.  The fall of 1992, armed with bartered, borrowed, and cobbled together equipment, found Larry and brother Kevin crushing a half-ton of  Merlot grapes. A handful of friends joined this winemaking fantasy, resulting in the first vintage of what would evolve into Sleeping Dog Wines.

1999 Merlot Label

Larry’s 1999 Merlot a powerful, well-balanced blend with a touch of Malbec (we’ll come back to that grape!), won multiple awards at the Benton County Fair and was declared “Best of Show.”  This perceived endorsement of only encouraged his vision and Sleeping Dog Wines was launched in 2002.