Our History

In 1995 John and Helen Walker were in Seattle, Washington on extended business.  Having lived the majority of their lives in Florida, John and Helen had not had a lot of exposure to Washington State Wines.  Lucky for us, John enjoyed and savored a glass of red wine that inspired him enough to conceptualize and create Kestrel Vintner's. 

Lover's of food and wine, John and Helen were delighted with the Pacific Northwest's abundant culinary scene and expressive wines.  Washington's Wine Industry, barely on the map in the world of wine, showed great promise to John.  As a visionary, he could see a bright future for our region and decided that he must  realize that potential by making wines that could reach everyone's dinner table. 

Shortly thereafter, John purchased our one hundred and sixty acre estate vineyard in the charming town of Prosser and the heart of Yakima Valley.   John sought the help of experts and he and Helen carefully hand-selected Kestrel View Estate for her quality vinifera grapes.  He and Helen named their vineyard Kestrel View Estates for the native sparrow hawk that endeared itself to them.  Today, we have Kestrel houses all over the vineyard.   "The vineyard site is of the best in the state as it is high on the Roza and has the oldest known producing vines in the State." says Flint Nelson, Kestrel's winemaker.  "Not to mention, it has been lovingly tended to since its conception.  The fruit coming out of our vineyard shows all of Yakima Valley's best qualities." 

In 1995 Kestrel produced their first vintage of Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay.   John's vision came to life.  Every grape that is hand-picked from our vineyard is intended to go into our Reserve and Winemaker's Select Series with little waste.   This system allows us to craft wines in a multi-tiered system so that we may bring great wines to your table, every day.  Our Falcon Series wines are representative of John Walker's vision, and Flint says "We make wine for Birthdays, Anniversaries and Mondays". 

Today, John is survived by his lovely wife Helen Walker and his vivacious daughter Cindy Walker.  John would be proud of his wife and daughter, as well as our creative team for continuing his legacy.  From our vineyard to your table, Cheers!