Vineyards: Hinzerling Vineyard, Smith Canyon
In 1989 John Walker, a Florida businessman and developer visited Washington to discuss the creation of a harness-racing track for his passion - trotting horses. Although he was basically a scotch drinker then, Walker visited Quilceda Creek Vintners of Snohomish and was stunned by the quality of Washington wines.
He found the finest WA wines were unavailable for purchase as they would always sell out so fast, so he decided it would make good business sense to get into the wine trade himself and emulate such top-of-the-line wineries.
In 1995 John acquired vineyards started Kestrel, named after the falcon often seen in Eastern Washington. The building was put up in 1998. The first releases were contracted with Brian Carter at Washington Hills. He hired Winemaker Ray Sandidge, and Judi Smasne from Washington Hills Cellars. Judy is the business manager and oversees the tasting room, with Gudrun Parker (accounting) and Annette Jackson (events coordination). (Gudrun has worked for several WA wineries including Cascade Crest Estates.)
The Wines:(Spring 1999)
Ray Sandidge 1998-present
Brian Carter 1995-1998
Of special note:
Ray's obsession is to make the best wine from the best grapes. He's working with the contracted growers and planning their own vineyards for small crops of the highest quality.
Events: The Grand Opening will be 20-Mar-1999, and is a "bottle your own" event. 19-Mar-1999 will be the first winemakers dinner, catered by Emily's Kitchen from seattle. The YVWGA events -- Red Wine & Chocolate, Barrel Tasting, etc. There is a yearly Audobon Society event in the planning stages.
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