The crown jewel of Red Mountain is opening its tasting room to the public for the first time.
Col Solare, which launched nearly 20 years ago and opened its winery in 2006 near the top of Red Mountain in the eastern Yakima Valley, is now open to the public from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday.
When the winery was first built and opened, it was not open to the public. but within a couple of years, it was open by appointment only. Demand from wine lovers to enjoy Col Solare wines, the winery and the view of the Yakima Valley and Mount Adams helped Ste. Michelle Wine Estates make the decision to go with regular tasting room hours.
At this time, Col Solare offers two flights:
- The Vintage & Component Flight includes tastes of the 2008 and 2009 Col Solare and 2009 Red Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon for $25 per person.
- The Vintage Vertical Flight includes tastes of the 2008 and 2009 Col Solare and 2010 Shining Hill for $20 per person.
Col Solare is co-owned by Ste. Michelle Wine Estates in Woodinville and Marchesi Antinori of Tuscany. It was conceived as a collaboration between Old and New Worlds using Washington wine grapes. For several years, Col Solare produced one red wine dominated by Bordeaux grape varieties.
A few years ago, it introduced Shining Hill, a second label that was made using barrels of wine that didn’t make the Col Solare blend. Today, Col Solare is branching out, producing additional wines using Red Mountain grapes, including Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec.
Darel Allwine is the winemaker at Col Solare. He has worked for Ste. Michelle Wine Estates for several years and succeeds Marcus Notaro, who left Col Solare to take over winemaking at famed Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars in California’s Napa Valley – which also is co-owned by Ste. Michelle and the Antinoris.
While Col Solare uses grapes from top vineyards throughout the Columbia Valley, the winery has begun to focus more and more on using grapes from Red Mountain, including its own estate vineyard, which is managed by Dick Boushey, one of the state’s top grape growers.