Kestrel Vintners celebrates National Cancer Survivors Day

By on June 4, 2016
Kestrel Vintners is a 34,000-case brand with tasting room, picnic grounds and winery in Prosser and satellite tasting rooms in Leavenworth and Woodinville. (Photo by Doriano Riosa/Courtesy of Kestrel Vintners)

Kestrel Vintners is a 34,000-case brand with a tasting room, picnic grounds and winery in Prosser and satellite tasting rooms in Leavenworth and Woodinville. (Photo by Doriano Riosa/courtesy of Kestrel Vintners)

PROSSER, Wash. – Kestrel Vintners in Washington’s Yakima Valley will stage a public celebration Sunday that it hopes will grow each year – National Cancer Survivors Day.

“There is no fundraising effort,” Leo Kirk, sales director of Kestrel Vintners, wrote in an email to Great Northwest Wine. “This is truly a celebration we are hosting.”

The tasting room at the Prosser Wine and Food Park will be open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., and the celebration includes complimentary food and live music. Wines are available for purchasing by the bottle, and guests are welcome to enjoy them on the premises.

“Guests are encouraged to bring their wine to the lawn area,” Kirk said. “We have limited seating, so bring blankets for the lawn.”

Fare will include grilled carne asada, grilled chicken, Greek salad, grilled asparagus and watermelon. Temperatures in the Yakima Valley are expected to reach 100 degrees, so Kestrel plans to offer plenty of free drinking water.

Tri-City jazz/blues trio BlueZette will perform from noon to 3 p.m., followed by Kennewick rock band Groove Principal from 3 to 6 p.m.

Kestrel General Manager Martino Trost pointed out that National Cancer Survivors Day was created 29 years ago to also inspire those recently diagnosed, help support those families and friend and well as bring more awareness to the fight against cancer.

“We have two cancer survivors on our small staff, and this day is a celebration of the battles we fight against cancer and a ‘thank you’ to the caregivers, family and friends who helped us along the way,” Trost stated in an email.

Michaud oversees first vintage at Kestrel

Justin Michaud samples a fermentation Oct. 1 at Coyote Canyon Winery in Prosser, Wash.

Justin Michaud samples a fermentation at Coyote Canyon Winery in Prosser, Wash. (Photo by Eric Degerman/Great Northwest Wine)

Those who take part in Kestrel’s National Cancer Survivors Day celebration will get the chance to meet the new winemaker.

This fall marks Justin Michaud’s first full vintage in the cellar at Kestrel and walking the rows at Kestrel View Estate Vineyard. He was formally announced earlier this year as Trost’s winemaker, taking over production of the 34,000-case brand from Flint Nelson, who recently launched Wit Cellars nearby.

Michaud, a Virginia native, moved to the Walla Walla Valley in 2002 and worked at Bergevin Lane Vineyards and Ash Hollow, as well as time working with his winemaking wife, Katy, at Canoe Ridge Vineyard. In 2009, he moved to Goose Ridge Estate Vineyard and Winery, where he was in charge of the StoneCap brand, a product of the Monson family’s 2,200-acre vineyard.

“At Ash Hollow, we processed about 60 tons per year, which kept me busy as a one-man winemaking crew,” Michaud said. “It was a departure from what I had done in the past as we processed 5,000 tons of fruit my first vintage and almost 10,000 tons by the time I left.”

In 2013, he took over the winemaking from John Gabriel at Coyote Canyon Vineyard. and Michaud will continue to oversee the winemaking for grower/winery owner Mike Andrews.

Michaud, armed with a degree in business from Washington State University, now works with Kestrel View Estate Vineyard, a 120-acre site that’s some of the state’s oldest plantings of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Chardonnay, all established in 1972.

About Eric Degerman

Eric Degerman is the president and CEO of Great Northwest Wine. He is a journalist with more than 30 years of daily newspaper experience and has been writing about wine since 1998. He co-founded Wine Press Northwest with Andy Perdue and served as its managing editor for 15 years. He is a frequent wine judge along the West Coast and contributor to Pacific Northwest Golfer magazine, the region's longest-running golf publication.

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