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Arbor Crest Winery

Towering high on the hills above the Spokane Valley, Arbor Crest is a picturesque spot for any event and a picture of transformation of quality and direction. The state’s 29th winery began with brothers Harold and Dave Mielke’s departure from the family business of orchards, strawberries and cherry pie filling to growing grapes on the Wahluke slope.

Moving into their second generation, Harold’s daughter, Kristina Mielke-van Loben Sels and her husband Jim took over the winery in 1999. With Kristina as the wine maker and Jim the viticulturist and general manager, the van Loben Sels have transformed the brand and winery into a quality Bordeaux style production house with a focus on quality red wines. The flagship Sauvignon Blanc is still on the menu and at $10 retail is a showcase of flavor and value.  The sweet wines have been replaced by Cabernet Sauvignon, Cab Franc, Malbec, Merlot, Syrah, Sangiovese, Petite Sirah, and the stunning Dionysus blend. Arbor Crest is one of three Spokane wineries to receive four-star praise in Paul Gregutt’s book Washington Wines and Wineries.

Built in 1924, the Cliff House manor was purchased by the winery in 1985 and has been transformed into a premier event facility and a top destination for picnics, concerts, special events and weddings (including popping the question). The unobstructed East to West views of the Spokane Valley has inspired many a romantic story. Over 30,000 visitors stop by Arbor Crest annually for signature events like the weekly Summer Concert Series (Sunday’s from June through September), Art and Glass Festival (third week in August).

While the focus of any great winery is the wine, Arbor Crest is entering a new phase of development and growth. On December 23, 2009 Spokane awoke to the horrible news of a fire at the Cliff House Mansion. A faulty electrical strip and secluded location led to significant damage to the interior of the historic mansion. While visitors to Arbor Crest this summer were shocked at the damage, significant work has been done to restore the building to its original splendor. In addition to rebuilding Cliff House, the van Loben Sels would like to build a new tasting room and events facility overlooking the city. The new space would allow for year round events on the beautiful grounds. If you’re downtown shopping or watching a movie at Riverpark Square, be sure to stop by the Arbor Crest tasting room on the third floor too.

Location: Cliff House 4705 Fruithill Rd

Riverpark Square Tasting Room (Third Floor)

Hours: Cliff House 12-5pm Daily

Riverpark Square 11-7pm Mon-Thurs, 11-9pm Fri-Sat, 11-5 Sun

Phone: Cliff House 509.927.9463

RPS 509.747.3903

Website: www.arborcrest.com 

Twitter: @arborcrestwine

Facebook: Facebook.com/ArborCrest

This article was published in the November 2010 issue of Spokane Wine Magazine

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