MikeL's Guide to WA Wineries
C. R. Sandidge Wines
107 Sunset Way, Zillah, WA 98953
Phone: 509-829-5753, Fax: 509-829-5753

Click here for map/directions.
Page last updated: 24-Jul-2003, Page generated: 11-Sep-2005

Newsletters: Jul 2003, Mar 2002, Sep 2001, Aug 2001.

Production: (2000) 1150 cases
Vineyards: (not yet, planned asap)
Distribution: Self

Note: Although the label has always been "C. R. Sandidge Wines", there was some confusion before their first releases, and several folks, including MikeL's WA Winery Guide, mistakenly listed the winery as Pheasant Canyon Vineyards (more on this below).

The winery is the pet project of Ray Sandidge. Ray distictly recalls having his first glass of wine in 1968 while his father was stationed in Belgium.

He attended Washington State University (WSU) and majored in horticulture with an emphasis on plant physiology and tree fruit production. He wound up at WSU's Irrigated Agricultural Research and Extension Center where, he learned his way around a wine analysis lab.

After WSU, Ray got an apprenticeship with Pindar Winery on Long Island. He was assistant winemaker and vineyard manager, raising Gewurztraminer, Riesling, Chardonnay, Merlot, and Cabernet wine grapes. Two bottles of his 1986 vintage were served at former President George Bush's 1988 inaugural ball.

In 1986, A young German on a wine marketing trip visited the Pindar Winery and offered Ray a one-year position as a winemaker in the Rheingau of Germany. He spent the next three and a half years as a winemaker in Rudesheim, where he was good-naturedly branded "the rebel" for using many of his own wine-making techniques.

A proud achivement for Ray came in 1987; while he was working at Weingut Georg Breuer, the winery was listed among Germany's 100 best wineries for the first time. He was also awarded first prize at the German National Sweet Wine Championship for his 1989 Berg Rottland Trockenbeerenauslese.

In 1991, Ray returned to WA starting at Washington Hills Cellars and then Hyatt Vineyards. In 1998, he started with Kestrel Winery.

In 2001, Ray has entered into an agreement with the Kestrel management to start his own winery working out of the Kestrel facility. (This is fairly common with small WA State startups.) The agreement limits his winery output to 2,000 cases a year, and does not allow the Sandidge label to be sold in the Kestrel tasting room.

The first harvest in 2000 consisted of Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec contracted with Yakima Valley growers.

Pheasant Canyon Vineyards is another project of the Sandidge family. They plan on planting their own vineyard, with this name as soon as possible.
Sources: [the winery]

The Wines: Current releases (Winter 2001)
As Pheasant Canyon has an official website with detailed wine notes, I'll leave this section to them. Please visit the link (above) for current wine info.

They currently produce Syrah and Sauvignon-Malbec-Merlot blend.

Ray Sandidge
Ray Sandidge 2000 - present

Of special note:
Within a few years, a modest increase to 2,000 cases of wine is scheduled to occur.

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