Think about this: A decade ago, 14 Hands Winery didn’t exist.
Ste. Michelle Wine Estates created the brand in 2005 as a restaurant-only label. Consumer demand grew to the point that the company made it available for retail sales. Last year, Ste. Michelle converted Snoqualmie Winery’s tasting room in the Yakima Valley town of Prosser to 14 Hands.
Today, 14 Hands Winery produces 2 million cases of wine annually, making it Washington’s second-largest winery and one of the fastest-growing brands in the United States.
Keith Kenison is the head winemaker for 14 Hands (and also the white winemaker for Columbia Crest), and Laura Sorge is the red winemaker for both 14 Hands and Columbia Crest.
The winery takes its name from the small wild horses that once roamed the Horse Heaven Hills, a region between the Columbia River to the south and the Yakima Valley to the north. These horses were just 14 hands tall — less than 5 feet.
The wines of 14 Hands are not only affordable, but they’re also superbly made. Here are several we’ve tasted in recent weeks. 14 Hands wines are broadly distributed, so these should be easy to find at groceries and on restaurant wine lists.
Eric Degerman and Andy Perdue run Great Northwest Wine, a news and information company. Learn more about wine at www.greatnorthwestwine.com.