Fellow Washingtonians — especially wine-loving Washingtonians — we need to talk about Red Mountain. This incredibly underrated region has gone from a rather sparse part of our state to a little-known hot spot for amazing food and vino. Considering this is where quite a bit of our food and wine grapes are raised and grown, it should come as no surprise that the local dining scene is fantastic.
Red Mountain (which is neither red, nor a mountain) is situated between Benton City and Richland. And in case it’s been awhile since you’ve visited the area, we put together a guide on how to eat and drink your way through it.
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life as we all practice social and physical distancing. While we’re continuing to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, we don’t expect or encourage you to go check them out immediately. We believe that supporting local attractions is important now more than ever and we hope our articles inspire your future adventures! And on that note, please nominate your favorite local business that could use some love right now:
Red Mountain is more of a steep slope than an actual mountain, and it sits facing Southwest, near the Yakima River.
The area's desert climate makes it an ideal place to grow wine grapes, and you'll find plenty of red varieties (Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Syrah, and Malbec especially) as well as a few whites, like Sauvignon Blanc.
Before you start sipping wine, fill up with a hearty and healthy lunch from Ethos Bakery & Cafe.
Ethos morphed from wholesale pastries to a Farmers Market bakery to a trattoria before becoming what it is today, a full service cafe and bakery that also offers catering.
Don't be dissuaded by the word 'bakery' -- Ethos offers so much more than delicious desserts.
From fresh salads and sandwiches to small plates and pasta, you'll find what you're craving here.
Address: 2150 Keene Road, Richland, WA, 99352
Head to Benton City (Did you know the Red Mountain area now has Uber and Lyft?), and begin your tasting adventure at Hightower Cellars.
Hightower Cellars is owned by the warm and welcoming Tim and Kelly, who are passionate about winemaking and love to create unique red blends. Of course, the highlight of this place is the adorable winery dog, a yellow lab named Riley.
Address: 19418 East 583 PR Northeast, Benton City, WA, 99320 Tasting room hours: Thursday - Monday, 11 - 5.
Next, visit Fidelitas and sit on the porch with a glass of their signature Red Mountain Malbec, taking in the views.
Charlie Hoppes, the owner and winemaker, happens to be one of the most respected winemakers in the state. Even if you don't think you like red wine, the vino here could very well change your mind.
Address: 51810 North Sunset Road, Benton City, WA, 99320 Tasting room hours: Daily from 11 - 5
For dinner, treat yourself to an unforgettable meal at Fat Olives Restaurant & Catering.
This unassuming buildings holds some of the best food at wine in Eastern Washington.
The seasonal menu is created from scratch, and deciding what to have for dinner is no easy task.
Starters include a scrumptious salmon mousse and this Breads and Spreads tray, while the sandwiches and pizzas are tough to resist. They also serve hearty entrees like steak frites and seafood. Fat Olives is best known for its wine list, which has over 170 (mostly local) selections.
Address: 255 Williams Boulevard, Richland, WA, 99354
Before beginning your second day of tastings, stop by Frost Me Sweet for some delightful sustenance.
This adorable spot rose to local fame for its irresistible cupcakes, but the space is now a bistro as well.
You'll have your choice of classic bistro fare here, and it's easy to see why Frost Me Sweet is now one of the most popular lunch spots in town.
Of course, we highly recommend enjoying a cupcake while you're here or taking a few to-go for after your wine tastings.
Address: 710 The Parkway, Richland, WA, 99352
Start the day's tastings at one of Red Mountain's most iconic places, Kiona Vineyards.
Although Red Mountain wasn't officially established as a wine region until 2001, Kiona's original owners, John Williams and Jim Holmes, planted the first vineyard here in 1975. Kiona is still owned by the Williams family, and it has grown significantly.
The tasting room at Kiona shows off their versatile wine collection, which is mostly red and absolutely phenomenal.
They even make some wines that aren't easy to find in Washington, like their universally loved Lemberger -- they produced the first commercial bottling of it in the country in 1980.
Address: 44612 North Sunset Road, Benton City, WA, 99320 Tasting room hours: Daily from noon - 5
Next, check out the visually stunning Col Solare.
Col Solare is the partnership between two influential wine producers, one from Chateau Ste. Michelle here in Washington, and one from Tuscany.
You'll find Tuscan influences all over this beautiful winery, right down to the Grappa you can sample if you're feeling bold.
Their tasting room is gorgeous, and you're welcome to sip your vino on the patio when weather permits.
Address: 50207 Antinori Road, Benton City, WA, 99320 Tasting room hours: Daily from 11 - 5
End your day with a mouthwatering meal at Drumheller's Food & Drink.
Located on the second floor of The Lodge at Columbia Point, it's open daily for dinner, and it never disappoints.
At Drumheller's, the food is local, fresh, seasonal, and absolutely outstanding.
As you can imagine, the wine list here is also exceptional... but if you're ready for a vino break, they also happen to have an excellent cocktail list full of creative concoctions.
Address: 530 Columbia Point Drive, Richland, WA, 99352
This is just a small taste (pun intended) of the wonderful wineries and eateries Red Mountain has to offer.
Plan your visit ASAP and you can map out your own food and wine trail.
The Tri Cities hasn’t always been a top tourist destination, but this area now has some amazing attractions. And if you go between April and October, you’ll definitely want to stock up on fresh food at Richland’s