Previous to the founding of our company, the Crittendens made frequent visits to the wineries in Washington and Oregon as something to do on weekends. Kiona was an early favorite, as it was one of Washington’s first and certainly the pioneer of the now-famous Red Mountain AVA. It took quite some years for Roanoke Valley Wine Company to begin selling Kiona in our markets, as it was tied up in a franchise assignment with another distributor. We were so happy to finally represent Kiona when the franchise was remade.
John Williams planted the first grapes on Red Mountain in 1975, and those same first 12 acres are used in several of the wines that we represent. Three generations of Williams are still involved in the winery, and a visit to the winery will reveal that they still work closely together. They are at least as much grape growers and farmers as they are winemakers, as they supply many other winemakers in Washington and beyond. They prefer to help out smaller producers over selling wine to the enormous producers.
Kiona makes a variety of wines, and we respect them for staying true to what they think is right and not just chase the latest popular varietal. They still grow and make Chenin Blanc and they still grow and make Lemberger. Are they difficult to sell? Yes, when compared to Cabernet Sauvignon. Are the wines values? Absolutely, and more of our customers should be working with them and consumers should be trying them. Kiona wines, in general, are still one of the true domestic bargains in our portfolio.
By the way, it is also the most frequently mispronounced winery in our book. It is “ky-own-ah”.