Auction date for Red Mountain acres moved to Nov. 23

Loretto J. Hulse, Tri-City HeraldSeptember 7, 2013 

The date for the auction of several hundred acres in the Red Mountain American Viticultural Area has been moved to Nov. 23.

In August, the Kennewick Irrigation District commissioned Musser Brothers Auctions and Real Estate in Pasco to sell 670 acres. About 518 of the acres are within the AVA.

The original date set for the auction was Nov. 16 but, because it's auction season for the company, officials changed the date to make it more convenient for scheduling and so they could devote their full attention to the auction, said a Musser Brothers representative.

The Red Mountain AVA between Benton City and Richland was designated in 2001 and has about 1,000 acres under cultivation, according to the AVA website.

Vineyards in the Red Mountain AVA are well known for the quality of their red varietals, especially, according to the Washington State Wine Commission, cabernet sauvignon.

The land has been owned by KID since 1943 and is unplanted.

"There have been relatively few sales of land in (the Red Mountain area) in the last few years, and nothing comparable to the amount being sold at auction," said Chuck Freeman, district manager of KID, in a press release.

KID has been working for years to bring pressurized water from the Yakima River to the Red Mountain area.

On Aug. 6, Jason McShane, the district's engineering and operations manager, told the KID board that construction already had begun on the Kiona intake station, pump house and other improvements needed to deliver water to landowners on Red Mountain. The intake station is near the intersection of Highway 224 and Demoss Road.

Property owners within the local improvement district, or LID, will pay the almost $20.2 million cost of the project.

On Aug. 26, the KID board awarded contracts to three companies to lay pipes from the pumping station to the prime vineyard growing land of Red Mountain.

Officials hope to have river water flowing there by next summer, about a year earlier than originally expected.

"The completion of our project to bring Yakima River water to the Red Mountain AVA by late mid to late summer 2014 -- one year ahead of schedule -- will be of tremendous importance in ensuring a stable water supply to the vineyards there, so I'm confident that this will enhance Red Mountain's already important role in the wine industry," Freeman said in the release.

The auction will be at Musser Brothers office in Pasco, 3035 Rickenbacker Drive.

For more information, go to www.mb or call 509-416-6060.

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-- Loretto J. Hulse: 582-1513;

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