Distribution: US, Europe, Pacific Rim
The Mielke family have been in the fruit growing business since 1910. They bought their equipment from a bankrupt California winery, and moved it to the current facility in Spokane. In the mid-1980's, they planted their own 87 acre vineyard near Mattawa (Spokane is too cold for Vinifera grapes) to supplant the grapes bought from many other Columbia Valley vineyards, including Sagemoor, Bacchus, and Stewart.
The tasting room is amazing, with quite a history. In 1925, Royal Riblet, a tramway design engineer and bicycle racer began building his mansion on the edge of a spectacular precipice 450 feet above the Spokane River. He named it "Eagle's Nest" and over the next 5 years, he carved a swimming pool out of the rock, built a stone pavilion, and a croquet court that he'd turn to a skating rink in winter amongst other projects. He died in 1960, and his wife sold it to the Mielkes, who renamed it "The Cliff House" in (?). It was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1979.
The original winemaker was Scott Harris, a UCDavis grad. The Mielkes
credit Scott's skill for establishing the wineries credentials in the
Washington State Winery marketplace. In 1991, Scott left the winery
to start another career. He was replaced by Mikhail Brunstein, whose
career included head winemaker at a large winery in Odessa, Ukraine,
with a complete staff of technologists and biochemists. In 1978 he
immagrated to the U.S. and found his first job here in Milwaukee,
making fruit and Labrusca wines. He found a much preferable position
Columbia Crest Winery in charge of
special projects, where he was when the Mielke's asked him to help
them out for a while. He's still there today !
The Wines (Spring 1996)
Von Lobensels 1999(?)
Mikhail Brunstein 1991-1999(?)
Scott Harris 1981-1991
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