Flint Nelson joined the Kestrel team as Winemaker in May, 2004. He is an accomplished winemaker with nearly a decade of experience, most recently as the winemaker at Apex Cellars in Sunnyside. During his time with Apex, Flint was able to further his studies under the tutelage of Brian Carter, who crafted Kestrel’s earliest vintages. Mr. Nelson also worked at Paul Thomas Winery and Hogue Cellars.
Flint Nelson knew at an early age he wanted to be a great winemaker. He has spent his life pursuing that dream. Educated at Washington State University, he graduated in 1991 with honors. He was one of the first recipients of the Walter Clore Scholarship. After internships in New Zealand and at Columbia Crest in Paterson, Washington, he began to realize his dream. He and his wife, also a winemaker, enjoy vacationing in wine growing regions around the world.
Kestrel’s General Manager, Mike Birdlebough, notes that we had hoped “to hit a home run with our new winemaker, but hiring Flint Nelson is a grand slam! We were searching for a promising winemaker to continue our tradition of producing quality wines. What we found in Flint is an accomplished winemaker, with tremendous experience in the cellar and with Yakima Valley fruit. We are thrilled to have him on board.” “I am grateful for the opportunity to work at Kestrel,” said Nelson. “This is a winery with a wonderful reputation and I look forward to making great wines.”
Flint hit the ground running. He enhanced laboratory analyses and process controls to assure wines in production continue to enhance Kestrel’s reputation for quality. He developed a German Style off-dry wine (Pure Platinum) for our Tasting Room in Leavenworth, Washington. Interest attracted across the state required expanding production to assure that our Second Edition will be available in retail outlets as well. Additionally, Flint has developed a new series of wines that are based on unusual varietals, clones, or processing techniques. The first wines in this Winemaker Select series include a Co-ferment Syrah, Malbec, and wild yeast Chardonnay; these low production wines will primarily be available through our wine club and tasting rooms. He captured the opportunity to produce a Signature Edition Chardonnay Ice Wine that has flown off the shelves, and crafted Kestrel’s first-ever Signature Edition Port. Not bad for his first year!
We are all anxious to learn what he will do next!