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Episode 29 | Red Mountain’s vine pioneers—then and now

Tyler and John Williams, Kiona Vineyards
Tyler and John Williams

3rd and 1st generation winemakers  | Kiona Vineyards & Winery

This episode is Part 1 of 2 about the heralded Red Mountain AVA and the generational stories that carry these wines into the future.

To pinpoint the origins of Red Mountain, you’ll need go back as far as 1961. That’s when GE employees John Williams and Jim Holmes met and struck up a friendship around their mutual appreciation of wine. By 1965, they had begun a side education with Washington wine legend Dr. Walter Clore, who planted the seed in their heads that Red Mountain was prime vineyard material.

By 1972, John and Jim had purchased land on Red Mountain, ignoring the jibes of those that thought they were crazy. Looking back, it did seem like a leap to invest in what resembled a dusty desert only suitable for growing sagebrush. Fortunately for wine lovers, they didn’t listen to the nay-sayers and planted the first Cabernet Sauvignon, Riesling and Chardonnay on the mountain. 

Kiona has been making wine since 1980 with John’s son Scott who followed his father as Vineyard Manager and Winemaker. Scott’s sons also joined the family business, with JJ taking the role of Director of Operations and most recently, Tyler taking on every aspect of winemaking.  

Visit Kiona Vineyards

Red Mountain: Your next wine destination

Red Mountain is 15 minutes away from Richland, WA and may be the smallest AVA is Washington, but it’s full of more adventures and award-winning wines than visitors can experience in one day. Listen to our journey through this prized wine growing region’s must-see tasting rooms, nearby restaurants and the stories that started it all.

Plan your trip to Red Mountain wineries here.
Visit Hightower Cellars
Visit Hedges Family Estate
Visit Tapteil Vineyards
Book your stay at The Lodge at Columbia Point
Thank you, Erin Osborne, President of Osborne Northwest Public Relations, a boutique PR agency specializing in lifestyle and hospitality public relations. AND thank you to Alicia Brown, the Executive Director of The Red Mountain AVA Alliance for helping to arrange the weekend’s events.
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