To me at least, 43,560 square feet is easiest to grasp. I live in a house, for example, that is a little under 1,200 square feet. So I can get a sense of scale. In America we like to measure land area in terms of football fields (because... 'MURICA). So I'd be remiss if I didn't include this patriotic proportion: an acre is approximately 91% of a football field (not including the end zones).
So with all of that in mind, here is a breakdown of our Red Mountain acreage:
- Cabernet is king. Of the 18 different varietals we grow, more than 60% is Cabernet Sauvignon. A lot of this growth has happened in the last 10 years or so with the planting of the Heart of the Hill vineyard. As you may or may not know, we sell grapes to about 65 other wineries. You can find a comprehensive list here (scroll down). The simple fact of the matter is that Red Mountain produces some of the most sought-after Cabernet Sauvignon grapes on the planet. Supply, meet demand.
- A lot of people come through and say things like, "I hear you're known for your Lemberger and Ice Wine." That may very well be the case in their circumstance, but with Lemberger only representing 5.6% of our Red Mountain plantings and Chenin Blanc 1.8%, they account for a drop in the proverbial Kiona bucket. I think the reason these stick out in people's minds is because they are unique. Most wineries on the west coast have a Cabernet Sauvignon wine; how many can claim to make Lemberger and/or Ice Wine?
- There are several varietals on this list that do not have a corresponding mainstream Kiona Vineyards and Winery product. This is because they are either so new that we are just starting to get usable fruit, we don't have enough of it to bottle as a widespread release, or marketing/selling something on a large scale would not be feasible (Red Mountain Gewürztraminer, for example). This is where our wine club comes in. Petit Verdot, Carmenère, Petite Sirah, Mourvèdre, Cabernet Franc, Viognier, and Roussanne have all been released to the wine club in limited-production, wine club-specific bottlings. These are top-shelf wines made specifically for our club members. You can understand how, with distribution in 42 states and three continents, we would not be able to make enough Mourvèdre, for example, to satisfy the kind of volume necessary for a mainstream release. So we sell a little Mourvèdre fruit, use a little in our wines (both the 2012 Syrah and Cyclops II have Mourvèdre in the blend, for example) and we make a couple barrels here and there for the wine club. It's an ideal setup.
- Estate wineries have to plan our product mix a little differently than non-estate wineries do. Let's say, for example, the market for Merlot falls out completely (as it has for the last decade). The vines don't care about your problems on the sales side of things. They pump out more fruit, every year, regardless of whether or not you've sold the inventory from previous vintages. A non-estate winery could respond by simply not buying more Merlot. Even though it's our #2 most-planted varietal, we have been lucky in that Merlot still only represents ~7% of our plantings. We haven't had too much, as we sell it as its own varietal and blend it into several other wines (Cabernet - Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Estate Red Mountain Reserve, to name a few). If the market ever falls out for Cabernet Sauvignon, we're in trouble.
It should be noted that we farm two more vineyards near Finley. Vista and Nine Canyon vineyards are about 30 minutes away from Red Mountain and are in the Columbia Valley AVA. Even though we own them and farm them, we do not consider them "estate vineyards" for the purposes of our marketing (even though we could). We want to be synonymous with Red Mountain. So trying to explain that we have three vineyards on Red Mountain and two vineyards in the Columbia Valley would be too confusing. So the Columbia Valley fruit is used in many of our Washington State-designated wines, including Cabernet - Merlot, Chardonnay, and Riesling.