BUY KIONA FRUIT
Kiona Estate Vineyard
Heart of the Hill Vineyard
Ranch at the End of the Road
Dirt: Red Mountain was at one time an island in an Ice-Age flood (PDF Map and Info, Interactive Google Map). Giant eddies around islands such as Red Mountain allowed fine-textured sediment and silt to settle out of suspension during the flooding. This sandy silt top layer is excellent for growing grapes because it allows for superior drainage.
This fine silt and sediment sits on top of one of the world's largest basalt lava flows. The Columbia River Basalt Group formed when the Columbia Basin traveled over a geothermal hotspot due to plate tectonics. Starting roughly about 17 million years ago and lasting about 10 million years, lava slowly seeped from fissures, spreading out and covering the region. The basalt flow is over 13,000 feet deep in some locations. Our vine roots go as deep as they can, anywhere from 3-30 feet, stopping only when they hit the fractured basalt layer.
Temperature Swings: Grapes vines are very susceptible to temperature changes on a day-to-day basis. In the summer, grapes ripen until the temperature reaches about 90 degrees Fahrenheit, at which time sugar development is arrested. As the temperature increases, evaporation from the plant's leaves (called transpiration) grows at an exponential rate until the plant is unable to keep up with the loss of water. This triggers the vine to start metabolizing the acids in the grapes as a survival mechanism. Grapes grown in other areas of the world are oftentimes unable to compensate properly because the temperatures remain too high over a 24-hour cycle.
Red Mountain, on the other hand, is able to reduce the acid loss that occurs due to rapid transpiration. Our peak temperatures occur around 4 p.m. and cool off rapidly during the night, oftentimes resulting in a 40-50 degree swing between peak temperatures. As a result of this temperature swing, Red Mountain grapes are high in both sugar and acidity, an exceedingly rare and desirable trait for wine production.
It's neither red nor a mountain, but it's Red Mountain.