Glenn's Hometown News: Wine tasting and horseback riding at Red - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Glenn's Hometown News: Wine tasting and horseback riding at Red Mountain Trails

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BENTON CITY, WA - In this week's edition of Hometown News, Glenn Cassie explored a place where some of southeastern Washington's favorite things come together - horses and wine. He didn't have to go far - just about a 30 minute drive from downtown Kennewick to discover a place where you can saddle up and stroll through the vineyards while surrounded by breathtaking beauty.

Benton City, Washington is a charming community, surrounded by majestic beauty like the Horse Heaven Hills and Red Mountain. And with a population of about 3,000, most people here know each other.

A lot of those people either have horses, grow grapes, or both. Teresa Owen's parents homesteaded their 5-acre property back in the early 70's, and were the first family on Red Mountain. Her love for horses began shortly after she could walk.

"I would go down to my grandparents in Oregon and they always had a pony there for me to ride," Owen explained. "So probably one of the earliest pictures I have of me, is I'm maybe 18 months old, sitting on my little pony."

Owen says her love for horses was in her DNA. Her first horse was a gift from a neighbor, after consistently wandering over to their house to ride it. As she got older, she added to the family.

"I got a couple of horses as a teenager, just because I think I annoyed my parents into submission," Owen chuckled.

Surrounded by the natural beauty of the land she grew up on, and with her love for riding and the vineyards, it wasn't long before her friends and family saw a unique opportunity.

"Our friends would come and say, 'Oh, I want to go riding through the vineyards with you,'" said Owen, "as I was always riding out here. And my husband actually said, 'You should probably do this as a business.'"

And thus, Red Mountain Trails was born. But it wasn't an easy decision, as it meant giving up her full-time position as a software engineer at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.

"We had a lot of sit downs and uh, many, many glasses of wine to discuss it, and then we finally decided to pull the plug."

From its humble beginnings with two horses in 2012, to thirteen today, the business has grown steadily. But Owen hasn't forgotten how it all started.

"We would meet people down at Kiona Winery," she said. "They had a hitching rail out there that someone put up years ago and so, we would just stand out there and take walk-ups. And it turned out to be an excellent business move, as people love to see horses and interact with them."

They certainly do, and there's no denying there's something truly special about riding one of these beautiful animals.

"A lot of people that come out here rode horses as a kid. Maybe only once or twice," Owen explained. "And uh, but they just want to experience that again, and get back in touch with their childhood."

But that's not the only thing that draws people to Red Mountain Trails.

"When we combined that with the wine tasting, that was such a home run, because like, okay, I want to relive my childhood, but as an adult, and taste some wines."

It definitely has been a popular destination. Their season runs from March through October, but weather permitting they'll go out on rides year-round, especially around the holidays as they have a Christmas tree lot and wagon rides as well. There are also plans to build an event center to host things like weddings on the property. 

If you have an interesting business or something that's unique in your town, send Glenn an email at glenn.cassie@nbcrightnow.com.

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