A family, some grapes, and a Mountain

40 years, and growing

  • 1961
    • John Williams and Jim Holmes meet at General Electric. 

  • 1965
    • John and Jim work with WSU extension/Dr. Clore

    • We want­ed to learn as much as we could. And get­ting dirty seemed like the best way to do it.
      John Williams
  • 1972
    • John and Jim buy land on Red Mountain

  • 1972
    • John Williams

      Jim and I knew there was water down there at about 550 feet. We did all the research. So we hired this guy, he was an old salt well dig­ger, to come dig the well. He was skep­ti­cal; he always called us boys.” He kind of rolled his eyes at us, a cou­ple of young guys telling him where the water was. Jim and I are engi­neers, so plus/​minus guys. We went down there at about the time we knew he would have been at that depth. He said, Boys, I’m at 545 feet and there’s no water.” We didn’t have a lot of mon­ey left, but we knew the water was close. You know, plus or minus. So we told him to keep going. The next morn­ing he had hit water at almost exact­ly 550 feet. He told us, Boys, you did know where that water was.
      John Williams
  • 1975
    • Scott Williams

      I was in high school and I recruit­ed a bunch of my class­mates to help us plant the vine­yard. There must have been a recent gnat hatch, because on one real­ly hot Sat­ur­day after­noon there was a giant swarm. They would fly into your nose and mouth and it was hard to see. Every­body want­ed to go home but I told them that we had to fin­ish. They start­ed to sing Chain Gang” by Sam Cooke. I felt bad after that, so I sent them all home!
  • 1975
    • John and Jim plant the first grapes on Red Mountain (Cab, Riesling, Chardonnay)

    • It was a good spot, and best of all, we could afford it.”
      John Williams
  • 1976
    • Several of John and Jim's co-workers tire of hearing them talk incessantly about the merits of vineyard ownership and Red Mountain, and plant a vineyard of their own immediately adjacent to Kiona Estate. The two friends and partners would later go on to purchase Ciel du Cheval vineyard about 20 years later. 

  • 1976
    • John and Jim plant more varietals (Lemberger, Chenin, Merlot)

  • 1977
    • 15.6 Red Mountain Acres under vine

  • 1977
    • Scott Williams

      We would dri­ve to the vine­yard site in a 1969 Ply­mouth Fury sta­tion wag­on. It was yel­low with black vinyl inte­ri­or. The road was so bad at the start. It was real­ly just a path through the desert. There were these soft dunes made of ultra-fine dust that you’d have to build up speed to bust through, or else you’d get stuck. So we’d gun it and each time we’d hit anoth­er dust dune, it would send up a giant plume. It got every­where; it came in through the vents in the car. It was like throw­ing flour in some­one’s face, except dirt.
      Scott Williams
  • 1978
    • First Red Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon fruit sold to Preston. Winemaker is Rob Griffin, now of Barnard Griffin Winery

    • The con­ven­tion­al wis­dom in the late 1970’s was that Wash­ing­ton was a first class white wine region with lim­it­ed prospects for reds. My opin­ion on this point was per­ma­nent­ly changed in 1978 with the oppor­tu­ni­ty to crush the first crop from Kiona Vine­yard on Red Moun­tain. The depth of col­or and fruit inten­si­ty was def­i­nite­ly a rev­e­la­tion as to the poten­tial for Wash­ing­ton Mer­lots and Caber­nets. The fruit yield­ed wines of tremen­dous depth and inten­si­ty, real dia­monds in the rough and a fore­shad­ow of great things to come.”
      Rob Griffin
  • 1980
    • Vintage of first wine produced under Kiona name. 1st commercial Lemberger in the USA

  • 1982
    • Kiona is one the of founding members of Yakima Valley AVA

  • 1983
    • John and Ann finish house on Red Mountain. Move in. Tasting room opens in basement

  • 1984
    • Scott and Vicky Williams purchase land for Ranch at the End of the Road and live on Red Mountain

  • 1987
    • You’ll not find many wines of this cal­iber from any­where in the world at this hum­ble a price.
      Richard Jones, Albuquerque Journal, June 11 1987 Issue, on 1983 Kiona Cabernet Sauvignon
  • 1987
    • 24.5 Red Mountain Acres under vine

  • 1987
    • I found myself par­tic­u­lar­ly impressed with the wines from Kiona, a small estate win­ery sit­u­at­ed in the East­ern end of the high­ly respect­ed Yaki­ma Val­ley appellation.
      Nancy Gilchrist, The Boston Globe, May 6 1987 Issue
  • 1989
    • Kiona grows and makes excel­lent Caber­net Sauvi­gnon and Mer­lot, plus Lem­berg­er, a vari­ety lit­tle known out­side Washington.
      The Wine Spectator, October 1989 Issue
  • 1990
    • Vicky Williams

      The bar­rels used to be in the base­ment behind the tast­ing room. When I was work­ing I’d have to go back and check on the bungs. If folks came in to taste when I was clam­ber­ing on the racks, four bar­rels high, I’d have to cat­a­pult off to greet them in a time­ly fash­ion. More than a few folks won­dered why I would round the cor­ner and greet them out of breath.
      Vicky Williams
  • 1990
    • Kiona has become a very suc­cess­ful win­ery in its own right, pro­duc­ing a con­sis­tent­ly impres­sive range of wines.
      Wine Magazine, October 1990 Issue Page 90
  • 1992
    • JJ Williams

      At the old crush pad they would clean up at the end of the day with a giant fire­hose; I thought it was the coolest thing ever. My Dad knew this, and used it as a car­rot to keep me well-behaved through the long hours we’d spend there. At the end of the day, after wait­ing for what felt like an eter­ni­ty, he’d let me help” him spray every­thing down. So. Much. Fun.
      JJ Williams
  • 1994
    • Williams family purchases Holmes family share of Kiona Vineyards Winery, divests in Ciel du Cheval. Families split partnership amicably and remain friends to this day.

  • 1997
    • 61.5 Red Mountain acres under vine

  • 1998
    • Vicky Williams

      When Tyler entered 2nd grade their first unit was on the five sens­es. He sent the poor teacher into a tizzy when he said that the apple juice they were using in the class­room smelled like Chardon­nay. I had to explain to the teacher what we did for a liv­ing, and that Chardon­nay juice, before it is fer­ment­ed, does indeed have a strong resem­blance to apple juice in appear­ance, fla­vor, and smell.
      Vicky Williams
  • 1998
    • Jesse Mejia

      I have a lot of fond mem­o­ries at Kiona. My par­ents would bring me on Sat­ur­days when they were work­ing in the vine­yard. I spent a lot of time walk­ing through the vine­yards and doing my home­work in the rows. My first dri­ving lessons from my Dad were on the road that splits the Fans Block and North Block of the Kiona Estate vine­yard. I was about 12. They must have been good lessons, because I haven’t caused an acci­dent in the nine­teen years since.
      Jesse Mejia
  • 1999
    • JJ Williams

      We used to have a vine­yard between Red Moun­tain and Pross­er that was irri­gat­ed direct­ly from the Yaki­ma Riv­er. Every spring, we’d have to put the pipes togeth­er and put them pret­ty far out in the riv­er, because it goes up and down through­out the year. In the fall, you’d do the same thing in reverse. I think that my Mom could always tell that it was Irri­ga­tion Pipe Day based on smell alone.
      JJ Williams
  • 2000
    • Tyler Williams

      Sun­set Road wasn’t paved for most of my child­hood. The school bus wouldn’t go off of the pave­ment, so we got dropped off at the end of the road. The win­ery is about halfway between our drop-off point and our house, so JJ and I would walk about a mile to the win­ery as a stop­gap. After fill­ing up on Grandma’s cere­al, we’d go hang out in the tast­ing room, where we would see folks tast­ing wine that had dri­ven by us on our walk. If that doesn’t exem­pli­fy a fam­i­ly win­ery, I don’t know what does.
      Tyler Williams
  • 2003
    • JJ Williams

      Tyler and I were pick­ing up grow tubes in the San­giovese block at Ranch at the End of the Road. They’re about 3 feet long, and cylin­dri­cal in shape. We were singing a song, get­ting real­ly into it, so I wasn’t real­ly pay­ing atten­tion to what we were doing. I grabbed some­thing that I thought was a grow tube, but it didn’t feel quite right. I looked down and saw that it was a snake, and threw it straight up in the air, near­ly land­ing on Tyler. That was exciting.
      JJ Williams
  • 2004
    • It’s impos­si­ble to hide the fact that Kiona pro­duces con­sis­tent­ly top notch wines.
      Alder Yarrow, VINOGRAPHY, September 2004
  • 2005
    • JJ Williams

      Grand­pa John had a pow­ered para­chute that he would fly around Red Moun­tain. The para­chute itself had a pret­ty wild rain­bow motif. I was dri­ving a trac­tor at Ranch at the End of the Road, on a fair­ly steep grade, when all of a sud­den this mas­sive rain­bow-col­ored object came into my field of vision from above and behind. It scared the liv­ing day­lights out of me, and I almost drove the trac­tor right into the grapes. Buzzed by my own Grandfather.
      JJ Williams
  • 2006
    • For decades the Williams fam­i­ly has been farm­ing clas­sic vari­eties on Red Moun­tain, one of Amer­i­ca’s great AVAs. They know the land like few oth­ers do, and their grapes reflect it.
      Bob Betz, Master of Wine
  • 2006
    • First 20 acres of Heart of the Hill planted.

  • 2007
    • 111.06 Red Mountain acres under vine

  • 2007
    • New Red Mountain tasting room opens to the public

  • 2007
    • Junior Flores promoted to Cellar Master

  • 2009
    • JJ Williams hired as Sales Manager

  • 2009
    • Kiona Vine­yards and Win­ery has been qui­et­ly pro­duc­ing real­ly good wine since 1980.
      Seattle Magazine, August 2009 Issue
  • 2011
    • Jesse Mejia hired as Accountant

  • 2014
    • Michele Clarke hired as Brand Ambassador

  • 2015
    • Red Moun­tain has arrived.
      Wine Enthusiast Magazine, March 2015 Issue, Page 55
  • 2016
    • John Williams and Jim Holmes recognized with Lifetime Achievement awards from the Washington Association of Wine Grape Growers for their work pioneering Red Mountain and Yakima Valley.

    • He’s my dear­est friend. We did a hell of a thing together.
      John Williams
  • 2017
    • 236.21 Red Mountain acres under vine

  • 2017
    • The Williams fam­i­ly is prov­ing Heart of the Hill to be one of the best vine­yards in the state of Washington.
      Wine Press Northwest, Spring 2017 Issue
  • 2019
    • (Kiona is) a pro­duc­er that’s been per­fect­ing their work for decades, and a tes­ta­ment to the excit­ing things that are hap­pen­ing in Red Mountain.
      Forbes, March 2019
  • 2019
    • Scott and Vicky Williams purchase the storied Artz Vineyard from the family of the late Fred Artz, adding a 4th estate vineyard to Kiona's Red Mountain holdings.

  • 2019
    • Tyler Williams takes over winemaking duties at Kiona Vineyards and Winery. Armed with a degree in Biology and a Master's in Enology, along with winemaking stints in Bordeaux, Sicily, South Africa, Chilé, New Zealand, Australia, and several top-tier Washington wineries, he brings an analytical, science-based approach to our winemaking.

    • Wine­mak­ing is some­thing that takes expe­ri­ence to get good at. Tyler has tak­en the steps nec­es­sary to get good at it. He’s froth­ing at the mouth to take over and I can’t wait to have him do that.
      Scott Williams
  • 2020
    • 272.4 estate Red Mountain acres under vine.

  • 2020
    • JJ Williams honored as a Wine Enthusiast Magazine "40 Under 40 Tastemaker."

    • …he brings a Mil­len­ni­al sen­si­bil­i­ty to one of the state’s most impor­tant vine­yards and wineries.
      Wine Enthusiast Magazine, August 2020

Family and Staff

John Williams

Founder, Fix-it-man

Grit, determination of will, and a dash of risky bravado; all are good descriptors of Grandpa John. He had the vision, the fortitude, the practical skills, and scientific mind that it took to make Kiona Vineyards and Winery a reality. With naysayers at every step, in every decade, John has looked them all in the face and said, “No. We’ll do it.”

Ann Williams

Founder, Do-everything-gal

Ann is the glue that holds this place together. She is everywhere, and she is nowhere. Always behind the scenes, anticipating needs before they are needs; thoughtful and considerate don’t begin to describe her contributions. She has called Red Mountain home since 1983.

Scott Williams

Vineyard Manager, Winemaker

Scott Is singularly responsible for making Kiona Vineyards and Winery what it is today. He took what his parents had created and made it his own. It takes a farmer to build a farm-first winery, and he is our guy. He has lived, farmed, and worked on Red Mountain for more than 30 years.

Vicky Williams

Red Mountain Maven

With a degree in Nursing from the University of Washington, Vicky ran the nursing department at Prosser Memorial Hospital for more than a decade. She kept the family fed while the farm was in its infancy and things were touch and go financially. Today she manages a one-acre U-Pick and frequents several local farmer’s markets as a vendor of fresh, healthy, family-farmed fruit.

Tyler Williams

Winemaker

Determined to learn as much as he could from as many people as possible, Tyler embarked on a decade-long winemaking intensive that brought him a Bachelor's in Biology, winemaking stints in 6 countries and 5 continents, and a Master's in Winemaking. He is perhaps the most experienced winemaker under 30 years old in the Pacific Northwest.

JJ Williams

GM

Since it’s weird to talk in the third person, I will out myself as your friendly website narrator. I grew up on Red Mountain, where my childhood was spent stacking and unstacking ladders, balancing shovels on my outstretched palm, and wondering why we couldn’t have cable television like “normal” kids.

Jesse Mejia

Accountant, Merlot Drinker

Jesse graduated with a degree in Accounting from Washington State University. After wasting away at a cubicle at an insurance company for a couple of years, he joined Kiona in May 2011 and has been an integral part of keeping us sane ever since. His parents, Francisco and Josefina, have worked with us for the better part of three decades.

Junior Flores

Cellarmaster

Junior has been with us since 1994. He keeps a journal of every wine he has ever tasted, which is pretty impressive. He is an integral player in both the winery and the vineyard, where his knowledge and experience come together in a way that makes everyone else’s jobs easier. He is on a constant quest to learn; in fact, he is nearly done with a Viticulture program at Yakima Valley Community College.

Michele Clarke

National Sales Director, Smiles

Michele is special in that she makes everyone around her feel special as well. She is considerate, kind, thoughtful, and quick with a smile, which made her the perfect person to send out into the world to spread the Red Mountain word. She has a Master's degree in natural health, which is pretty amazing.

Mellissa Whitaker

Enology, Cellar, and Operations

Mellissa retired from a 16-year career with the Marines as a Staff Sergeant to begin her second career in wine and grape growing. She submerged herself in the industry as a part of the Kiona Family while working hard as a student of WSU’s Viticulture and Enology degree program, graduating in 2019. Her personality is akin to sunshine and rainbows and her post-service hobbies include all things Pinterest.

Matt Halldorson

Viticulturist

Vineyards are everything at Kiona Vineyards and Winery, and Matt is in charge. He brings a strong science background (he studied under Dr. Markus Keller while earning his Master's at WSU) and extensive viticultural experience (Wyckoff and Ste. Michelle Wine Estates) to our estate vineyard operation. His genuine love for the land and attention to detail in his farming are invaluable.

Sarah Schwartz

Direct-to-Consumer Manager, Hospitality

Sarah brings with her an extensive hospitality background and a front-of-house jen ne se quois. We rely on her to build our Direct-to-Consumer experience so as to emphasize customer satisfaction without sales tactics or pressure to buy.

Vineyard / Winery Personnel

Adan Aguilar

Magdalena Aguilar

Ismael Aguilar

Mr. Jose Flores

Jesus Mariscal

Francisco Mejia

Josefina Mejia

Jose Mejia

Jorje Mejia

Sergio Mejia

Roberto Morales

Robert Scott

Tasting Room Staff

Grant Bailey

Nicole DeRousie

Teri Dube

Annie Fyfe

Rob Fyfe

Katie Hankins

Amy Higdon

Bree Jackson

Emmaleah Jones

Laura Jones

Tim Kuchler

Jessica Leiser

Owen Leiser

Flossie Marquiss

Savannah McKinzie

Tammie Nichols

Andy Nichols

Kristie Oxford

Kelly Rees

Don Rickel

Beth Ruhland

Barbara Scully

April Spaite

Nicole Stillman

Betty Whitney

At the end of the day, It’s all about the wines. Browse our collection of Red Mountain and columbia valley originals.

The Wines