Kestrel Vintners – Woodinville Review
Address: 19501 144th Ave. NE C-900 Woodinville,Washington 98072.
Phone Number: 425-398-1199
Tasting Hours: Thurs-Sun 12:00-5:00 and by appt.
Region: Puget Sound AVA, Woodinville, Woodinville Warehouse District, Washington
Reviewer: Denise Gangnes
Review Date: 1/12/2013
Reviewer: Denise Gangnes
Walk into a Starbucks or a Costco; whether youre in Waikiki or Woodinville, London or Leavenworth, and the format is similar: layout, construction materials, color palette and ambiance are remarkably similar. Wine tasting rooms, however, should reflect the ambiance of the city where theyre located; a good example is Kestrel Vineyards. Each of their three locations (technically two in Prosser, one each in Leavenworth and Woodinville) reflect wine tasting facilities truly tailored to their clientele and surroundings.
The Place:  The Woodinville Warehouse District has a respectable number of remarkable wineries with bland storefront facades and cookie cutter tasting rooms. In their piece of the puzzle, Kestrel has cornered a bigger slice than most, deliberately designing their space to send tasters this overarching message: the club member is King. Whereas most facilities relegate their private event space to sharing racks and racks of barrels, Kestrels club room is many times the size of the area encompassing their tasting bar and entry, and is tastefully decorated to give one the feeling of sitting in an outside Italian piazza. Trust me: you want to go there.
The Experience:  As with most private clubs, the greeting for outsiders is somewhat businesslike at the public tasting bar. On both trips to the winery, the pouring staff has been cordial and professional, handling the constant influx of warehouse wanderers while catering to the club coterie. Our recent experience was unusual, in that we arrived just half an hour from closing on a major football playoff day (a slow afternoon for wine tasting in Woodinville) and happened upon leftovers from the brunch array that had accompanied a private club television viewing earlier that morning. Although non club members are generally shooed out of the room, we were cheerfully offered the remnants of breakfast as long as we ate them at the public tasting bar. Needless to say, they proved a unique accompaniment to the days tastings (why yes, that biscuits and gravy does complement the buttery Chardonnay in truth, they werent pouring the Chardonnay that day.) With the afternoon waning, we leisurely chatted with staffers and after several tastes, decided to sign up for their reasonably priced club membership; after which we were invited into the inner sanctum of the club room for more generous pours and additional snacks.
The Wines:  Kestrels lineup of reds is nearly 90% of their overall production. The Falcon moniker is branded onto several blends; the Raptor Red walked away with Double Gold and Best of Show at the 2012 San Francisco International Wine Competition last summer. Kestrels Winemaker Select series of wines matched both our pocketbook and taste buds: the Co-Ferment Syrah features an inspired splash of Viognier in the blending, and the Mourvedres soft red fruit flavors are succulent. The Pinot Gris is fruity and drinkable. The Port was irresistible; the uniquely shaped bottle alone is worthy of a space on your table. Several vintages are on the bubble for release early in 2013, so check their website for updates.
Insider’s Tip: Note that Kestrel doesnt participate in the popular First Thursday Wine Walks. If you live in the area or visit regularly, consider joining their wine club. Discounts on wine purchases are substantial, and the private club room is spacious and comfortable one of the best in Woodinvilles warehouse district for private parties and a leisurely afternoon of relaxed tasting with friends. Two large tasting bars accommodate big numbers of club members, who enjoy live music, jazz, and summer BBQs (my husband coveted the king sized charcoal grill).