More Vineyards on the way at Red Mountain

BENTON CITY, Wash. - The mood has lifted on Red Mountain, even if the fog has not. Last week's auction results had some disappointed that a big chunk of land was going to one group. But local winemakers are now focused on the news that a second Napa Valley winery is set to grow grapes on Red Mountain.

"I would think they would understand how wine is a part of the good life and that is what we are trying to do here," said wine maker Tom Hedges.

But for wine makers like Tom Hedges, the good life may be getting better, as news a California company made a purchase on the mountain.

"We asked who it was..Duckhorn?... thinking it was Duckhorn, he said it was not Duckhorn, but another winery from Napa Valley," said Hedges.

No one's announcing the name of the wine company just yet, but it's still coming as a sigh of relief for nearly a dozen local vineyards. They were disappointed last weekend when a single investment group bought nearly 700-acres that were up for grabs. Aquilini Investment group paid more than eight million dollars for the land.

KEPR was unable to get an interview with the new tenants of Red Mountain - but did receive an email regarding the purchase. Quote, "...We are in the process of determining the best grape varieties to grow in the region with the intention of developing and planting the land as soon as possible."

"You'd be surprised, you get five or six states away and 'oh I didn't know they made wine in Washington,' so we need notoriety and this gives it to us," said Hedges.

And with a name like Napa Valley Wine attached to the neighborhood, the grapes will taste that much sweeter.

"The older I get, the harder it is to make me excited, and let's say I'm really excited about this," said Hedges.

KEPR also learned that an existing Napa Valley winery is set to release a new Cab with grapes grown on Red Mountain. Duckhorn's new Cabernet should be ready *next fall.