Arbor Crest: One of Washington’s Largest Family-Owned Wineries



By Kori ~ September 14th, 2010.

Arbor Crest Wine Cellars, located in Spokane, Washington, was founded in 1982 and produces about 20,000 cases per year. It is one of the largest family-owned wineries in Washington State. Owned by the Mielke family, Arbor Crest boasts a beautiful setting with a scenic overlook of Spokane and the surrounding area.

Brothers David and Harold Mielke purchased the historic Cliff House mansion and grounds for Arbor Crest Wine Cellars in 1985. The picturesque grounds include a sunken rose garden, open-air pagoda, flower and herb gardens, and a life-sized checkerboard. Sadly, a fire gutted the Cliff House, built in 1924, in December of last year. Historical reconstruction of the building is underway with completion expected in November.

Today, Harold Mielke’s daughter, Kristina Mielke van Lobel Sels, and her husband Jim run Arbor Crest. Kristina is the winemaker, and Jim is the general manager. Prior to joining the family business, Kristina studied fermentation science at UC Davis and worked at Ferrari-Carano Vineyards and Winery in Healdsburg, California.

Recently, we had the opportunity to taste some Arbor Crest wines in a blind samples tasting. We especially enjoyed the 2003 Dionysus Meritage Red Wine and the 2008 Syrah.

As I have mentioned previously, a trip to Spokane and its largely undiscovered wineries is well worth your time. The wineries in Spokane are producing some excellent wines, are owned and run by really nice folks, and the city itself offers quite a number of other activities to make it a great wine country destination.

2003 Arbor Crest Dionysus Meritage Red Wine (Columbia Valley, Washington): 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Franc, 5% Malbec. Vineyards: Dionysus, Conner Lee, Bacchus, and Stillwater Creek. Deep, dark red in color. Very aromatic with black cherry and oak on the nose. Black cherry, blackberry, vanilla, and spice come through on the palate. Medium to full-bodied and lively with medium to high tannins. Well-balanced and smooth with a long finish.
Quality: 4 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 3 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Received as sample, suggested retail $45

2008 Arbor Crest Syrah (Columbia Valley, Washington): Vineyards: Conner Lee, Bacchus, and Stillwater Creek. Deep, dark purple. Nice nose with spice, clove, nutmeg, and black fruit aromas. Flavors of black cherry, blackberry, black plum, and spice. Medium to full-bodied and crisp with medium to high tannins. Well-balanced with a long finish.
Quality: 3.5 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 4 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Received as sample, suggested retail $22

2008 Arbor Crest Cabernet Franc (Conner Lee Vineyard, Columbia Valley, Washington): Deep, purplish red. Aromatic with plums, dark cherries, oak, and smoke on the nose. Coffee, green bell peppers, and red fruits come through on the palate. Medium to full-bodied with lively acidity, medium tannins and a long, slightly bitter finish.
Quality: 3 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 3 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Received as sample, suggested retail $22

2008 Arbor Crest Sangiovese (Wahluke Slope Vineyard, Wahluke Slope, Washington): Deep, ruby red in color. Red fruits, raspberry, red cherry, and Red Vines come through on the nose; red fruits and cherry pie flavors on the palate. Medium-bodied and lively with soft tannins, and a medium finish.
Quality: 3 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 4 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Received as sample, suggested retail $18


Filed under: American Wine, Cabernet Franc, Red Wine, Sangiovese, Shiraz/Syrah, Washington State Wine, Wines Over $25, Wines Under $20, Wines Under $25

Reader's Comments

  1. @nectarwine | September 14th, 2010 at 9:16 am

    Arbor Crest is a Spokane jewel and are consistently making quality wine. I agree with most of your wine observations above with the Dionysus and Syrah being my favorite reds of theirs. A favorite white is their Sauvignon Blanc which coms from some of the oldest vines in the state at the Sagemoor group.

    Great work, WinePeeps and come back to Spokane soon!

    Josh
    drinknectar

  2. Kori | September 14th, 2010 at 9:38 am

    Thanks, Josh. I have not had their Sauvignon Blanc recently but will be sure to look for it. Hopefully, we’ll be able to visit Spokane again soon. Cheers!

  3. Catie | September 14th, 2010 at 10:52 am

    Their Cliffhouse Red is my go-to wine. I keep a case of it around. Yeah, I know – it’s not Walla Walla, but for the price it is a great red.

  4. Kori | September 14th, 2010 at 1:34 pm

    Thanks for sharing, Catie. It’s been a while since I’ve had the Cliffhouse Red; I’ll have to check it out again. Cheers!

  5. Medium Red Oak Bell | September 20th, 2010 at 12:32 pm

    [...] Wine Peeps: A Wine Blog » Arbor Crest: One of Washington's Largest … Aromatic with plums, dark cherries, oak and smoke on the nose. Coffee, green bell peppers, and red fruits come through on the palate. Medium to full-bodied with lively acidity, medium tannins and a long, slightly bitter finish. [...]