Since the dawn of time, natural forces have worked powerfully and mysteriously, and in rare circumstances have aligned to collectively create earthly wonders, such as exquisite gems that are singular in all the world.
One of those gems remained hidden in plain view, waiting patiently for thousands of years until such time certain adventurous, wine loving souls, would have the wisdom and foresight to reveal it to the world. This is the story of Red Mountain’s “terroir”.
The small geographic region that comprises the Red Mountain AVA was formed by the repeated ice-age flooding of Glacial Lake Missoula over 10,000 years ago. The flood waters redesigned the landscape, configuring the soft mountain slopes and depositing nutrient rich top soils over sand, silt and gravel – as if to anticipate the introduction of wine grapes to the region.
The high alkalinity and calcium carbonate content of the soil, along with its granular consistency, allows for each vine to form a well established root system. In soils with this composition, root systems are able to reach deep to obtain the necessary nutrients and moisture.
The southwest slope of the Red Mountain AVA provides the vineyards in the region with a directional aspect to the sun that is ideal for prolonged sunlight exposure and warmth. These highly desirable conditions allow for a ripeness in tannins that is recognized as a primary characteristic of Red Mountain fruit.
The Cascade Mountain rain shadow has its greatest effect in Red Mountain, where the desert climate experiences an average annual rainfall of seven inches, and almost no precipitation during the growing season. The result is dramatically lower mold and mildew pressure compared to most vineyard regions.
The high latitude (N 46*) and topography contribute temperature swings experienced during the growing season, with daytime temperatures averaging 90 °F (32 °C) and night time temperatures dropping below 50 °F (10 °C). In the evenings, the AVA experiences a notable drop in temperatures with the Yakima River playing a moderate role in the providing a cooling effect to Red Mountain’s gentle slopes. The cooler evenings help to retain acidity levels which allows for the exceptional balance and structure found in Red Mountain grapes, and the wines crafted from them.
The prevailing winds come out of the Southwest and are notable for their frequency and velocity. The regular gusts of warm air flow through the AVA’s vineyards during the growing season, keeping the grape clusters small and concentrating the flavors of the fruit - which contributes to their richness and intensity.
In the autumn, the cooler air from the north flows down the slope of the mountain, toward the river. This natural air drainage provides continual air movement which helps prevent frost from settling in the vineyards and damaging the grapes.
Wines made from Red Mountain fruit express this unique terroir with exceptional color, strength and richness, while demonstrating remarkable balance of fruit, acidity, and tannin.