Who Are the Guardians of Red Mountain?

And why did they all get the same tattoo?

September 21, 2010

Hedges’ wife Maggie shows off her new tattoo.
Photo: Ron Wurzer Photography

So Christophe Hedges—heir to the excellent Hedges winery in the Red Mountain AVA of Washington (father Tom started it in 1986)—has some interesting ideas. He has declared war on 100-point wine scoring systems—such as those employed by Wine Spectator and Seattle Met, among many other publications.

I first learned of all this a few weeks ago, when I called Hedges after reading some of his criticisms of our recent wine issue on the winery’s Facebook page. His issue with scoring in general, as he put it to me, is that it values the hedonistic experience of wine over terroir. How well it expresses its place of origin is the real measure of any wine, says Hedges, and the scoring system threatens to undermine this entirely.

It’s an idea Hedges and his people—they call themselves the Guardians of Red Mountain—are quite passionate about. Here’s how passionate: On Thursday, September 16, Hedges and eight of his…soldiers? got identical tattoos at Under the Needle in Belltown. The ink is meant to symbolize their profound devotion to Red Mountain and to expression of origin as the true measure by which wine should be judged. You read it here, folks.

Read all about it on Hedges’ Facebook page.

Further reading: See what Seattle wine writer Paul Gregutt has to say about scoring here.

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