Our family has had its hands in the dirt for generations. French Canadian Joseph Roy immigrated to Minnesota in the late 1880s before moving west in 1908 with his family to the “Promise Land” of the Yakima Valley, where irrigation and grit transformed the sagebrush steppe into a paradise of green, lush crops. Historically many crops have been grown in lower elevations, but wine grapes have been best grown on the slopes since grapes like a view. Grapes on elevated slopes were only a dream, until higher irrigation canals and electrical power were installed that allowed for farming these heights.
Fourth generation fruit/hop grower Mark Roy (Go Cougs’78) dreamed of finding just the right slope to plant wine grapes and that dream became a reality when the Jackson Horse Farm became available in 2017. This rocky, silt loam hillside is perfect for growing grapes with higher, natural acidity and structure; caused by the area’s lower daytime heat and cooler night time temperatures. It is a combination that viticulturists call the diurnal range and that winemakers prefer. This terroir is proving to produce great tasting wines.
Mark and his family, including his wife Debbie, (Go Cougs’80) their adult children, children in-law, and grandchildren have been involved in establishing Equus Vineyards. From planting, nurturing, and harvesting the grapes that are supplied to our vintner partners, it has been a family effort. We cherish our vintner relationships and work closely with the vintners in growing to their quality specifications as to help them produce world-class Washington wines.