Kiona Vineyards and Winery announced the hire of a new Viticulturist today, a historical event for the 45-year-old family business. Matt Halldorson will oversee farming responsibilities for five estate vineyards owned and operated by the Williams family in the famed Red Mountain AVA.
From its inception in 1975, improving the quality of its premium estate-grown Red Mountain fruit has been a core tenet of the Williams’ family business philosophy. Under the direction of second-generation Owner, General Manager and Viticulturist Scott Williams, vineyard operations have flourished and grown to include new acreage at five Red Mountain vineyards: Kiona Estate, Heart of the Hill, Ranch at the End of the Road, Artz Vineyard, and Sunset Bench. Halldorson will work closely with Williams to continue the tradition of cultivating premium quality fruit for the estate and its clients.
After graduating with honors at Northern Arizona University, Halldorson moved to Washington state, where he studied the physiological effects of grapevine leafroll disease under Dr. Markus Keller, Chateau Ste. Michelle Distinguished Professor of Viticulture at the WSU Extension in Prosser. From there, Halldorson developed a well-earned reputation as a respected viticulturist with Wyckoff Farms, and more recently, Ste. Michelle Wine Estates. His extensive experience farming high-end wine grapes in Washington's Yakima Valley, Wahluke Slope, Horse Heaven Hills, and Red Mountain AVAs made him an excellent choice as Kiona Vineyards and Winery expands its team, Williams said.
"I've farmed here a long time; Red Mountain has grown a lot over the last 40 years, as have my responsibilities,” Scott said. “I’m excited to have Matt join us at Kiona. The scope, complexity, and science of growing high-end wine grapes has evolved to the point where having a dedicated steward is a prerequisite for success. He’s a great farmer, and having him here will allow us to build on our prior accomplishments. Plus, I’ll get to spend more time with my wife and grandkids. I won’t have to drive around with PVC pipe rolling around in the back of my truck all the time."
Halldorson’s extensive viticultural experience and keen research background allow him to focus on key areas of growth, as identified by the Williams family: continual improvement of grape quality, environmental stewardship and sustainability, and an emphasis on employee safety.
About Kiona Vineyards and Winery
A fixture in the Washington wine industry since 1975, Kiona Vineyards and Winery operates five estate vineyards (totaling 272 planted acres) and a 25,000-case-per-year winery in the famed Red Mountain AVA, an area they pioneered. The vineyards supply high-end wine-grapes to more than 50 of the top winemakers in the Pacific Northwest. Three generations of the Williams family contribute to the ongoing success of the 100% independently owned and operated business.