After the War Where It All Began
Our story starts back in the 1940s when Louise Andrews parents, George and Mabel Smith started purchasing 7,800 acres of dry land in the Horse Heaven Hills, south of Prosser. During this time, the government used their land as a bombing range for practice during World War II. After the war, the government gave the Smiths a $10,000 stipend to help rebuild and continue farming the land.
In 1949, Bob and Louise Andrews began farming the land. The land was some of the driest around, and with no water source available their only crop was dryland wheat. Knowing their future would not be as successful without water, Bob secured water rights in the early 1950s, allowing the farm to tap into underground aquifers that would change the farm as they knew it. This water was the key to a successful legacy that Bob and Louise left their family—it allowed them to diversify their farm over the next 20+ years to include raising cattle and growing crops like corn, beans, and sugar beets.
Looking to the Future A New Generation
The McKinley Springs story continues with the families of Bob, Scott, and Rob working together to be stewards of the land and creating a long legacy of faith, farming, and family. Andrews & Andrews & Andrews was formed 1979, and in 1980 Bob and his son Rob successfully planted what would come to be known as Block 1 of Cabernet Sauvignon. This successful planting is what propelled the family into becoming one of Washington's and Horse Heaven Hills' most successful wine grape growing families. As additional wine grapes were planted throughout the next ten years, the family entity of Andrews & Rowell was formed—this included brothers Scott & Rob Andrews and brother-in-law Doug Rowell. Throughout the years, the families involved in the farm have continued to grow. New members joining the family farm have allowed for large growth in all crops and created a lasting legacy of 73 years of successfully farming of dryland wheat, irrigated crops, and wine grapes.
Our History Timeline of Events
Began purchasing land from Billings & Stout Sheep Company. In 1941, the family land was a World War II gunning range facility for aerial training. After the war, the family received a $10,000 stipend from the U.S. government to rebuild and continue farming in the Horse Heaven Hills. They planted 7,800 acres of dryland wheat.
1950s & 1960s
Drilling for Water
Wanting to expand their farming capabilities in the arid desert of Eastern Washington, the family spent much of the 1950s and 1960s drilling irrigation wells.
With plenty of water, the family began planting additional crops, including sugar beets, potatoes, and asparagus. They incorporated the farm and expanded its footprint significantly. Near the end of the 1970s, Bob, Scott, and Rob Andrews began farming as a family partnership, founding Andrews & Andrews & Andrews. Together, they planted concords.
With the beginning of the 1980s came our first plantings of wine grapes—Cabernet Sauvignon and Chenin Blanc—along with additional concords and apples. A new partnership, Andrews & Andrews, was formed as the farm began adopting new technologies. Soon after, another partnership among Scott Andrews, Rob Andrews, and Doug Rowell was formed.
Expanding the Farm
The farm expanded with additional wine grapes and concords. The family purchased dryland properties known as the Hancock Place and the Missouri Flats property.
As the farm continued to grow, winemaking became a larger part of the business. The McKinley Springs Winery tasting room and production facility opened as the centerpiece of the family farm on Alderdale Road. Rob Andrews was named the Grower of the Year for Hogue Cellars, and Winemaker Doug Rowell produced his first solo vintage.
The decade began with the Columbia Crest 2005 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon ranking as the #1 wine in the world. Rob Andrews was named the "Grower of the Year" by the Washington Association of Wine Grape Growers. We opened a new tasting room location in the Winemaker's Loft and continued to expand the vineyard by hundreds of acres.
Bulk Wine & Beyond
Despite the Winemaker's Loft tasting room closure, McKinley Springs vineyard and winemaking operations continue to grow as we expand into the bulk wine industry. We are planning for a limited release of our crowd-favorite wine Bombing Range Red in the spring of 2023.