After a rigorous two-year certification process, Chateau Ste. Michelle’s Cold Creek and Canoe Ridge Estate vineyards have earned third-party sustainable certification for LIVE and Salmon Safe. The Washington state winery will add the LIVE and Salmon Safe certification on its Cold Creek and Canoe Ridge Estate single vineyard wine labels beginning with the 2009 vintage wines.
Chateau Ste. Michelle is committed to using sustainable agricultural practices in all of the winery’s 3,500 vineyard acres in Washington’s Columbia Valley. Some of the winery’s current sustainable practices include reducing soil erosion through the planting of beneficial cover crops; safe, controlled spraying using soft pesticides (such as biodegradable oils, soaps and plant extracts), and conducting and participating in ongoing research on environmentally-friendly methods of pest control. Chateau Ste. Michelle has been aggressively pursing the goal of 100% sustainability in its Cold Creek and Canoe Ridge Estate vineyards leading to the LIVE and Salmon Safe certification.
“Achieving third-party certification through LIVE and Salmon Safe for our estate vineyards is a significant step in Chateau Ste. Michelle’s continuing mission to grow world-class grapes in a responsible, scientifically sound manner,” says Kevin Corliss, Director of Vineyard Operations for Ste. Michelle Wine Estates. “For more than two decades Chateau Ste. Michelle has been dedicated to developing and implementing sound vineyard practices through cooperative research and innovation.”
LIVE (Low Input Viticulture and Enology) is a non-profit organization that offers third-party sustainable certification through the International Organization for Biological Control, which promotes the use of sustainable, environmentally safe, economically feasible and socially acceptable control methods. For more information on LIVE visit liveinc.org.
SALMON-SAFE helps vineyards protect and restore salmon habitat by planting trees on streams, growing cover crops to control run-off, and apply natural methods to control weeds and pests. Vineyards that meet the program’s rigorous standards earn certification and are able to use the Salmon-Safe label. The Salmon-Safe label on a bottle of wine means the grapes used in that wine were grown using healthy practices that keep Pacific Northwest rivers clean enough for native salmon to spawn and thrive. For more details, visit salmonsafe.org.
Washington’s Iconic Cold Creek Vineyard -- Cold Creek Vineyard is located in a remote corner of central Washington 38 miles east of Yakima and south of the Columbia River and the Wahluke Slope. The site was planted in 1973 and is one of the oldest vineyards in the state. The vineyard is comprised of 809 acres of Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Merlot, Riesling, Syrah, Cabernet Franc and Grenache, which go into the winery’s single vineyard and Ethos tier wines. The vineyard lies on a gentle south-facing slope and enjoys one of the longest and warmest growing seasons in the Columbia Valley. The site gets a mere five inches of rain a year, which gives the vineyard manager total control of vine growth.
Chateau Ste. Michelle winemaker Bob Bertheau describes Cold Creek wines as “big-shouldered, concentrated and incredibly age worthy.”
Canoe Ridge Estate Reaches Maturity -- By contrast to Cold Creek’s 35-year history, the vineyard at Canoe Ridge Estate was planted in 1991 and is in its teen years. The vineyard lies on a steep south-facing, wind-swept slope on the north bank of the Columbia River near Paterson, Wash. in the Horse Heaven Hills AVA. The vineyard’s proximity to the river protects it from temperature extremes, allowing even ripening and excellent color development in the grapes. Strong winds reduce canopy size and density and contribute to the elegant character in the wines. The vineyard is planted to 559 acres of Merlot, Chardonnay, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Syrah and Grenache.
Bertheau refers to the site as “Europe on the Columbia,” producing wines with bright fruit and elegant dusty tannins with beautiful complexity.
For more information about Chateau Ste. Michelle’s sustainability efforts in its vineyards and in its winery, visit the new “Sustainability” page on its website at ste-michelle.com.
About Chateau Ste. Michelle -- Founded in 1934, Chateau Ste. Michelle pioneered vinifera grape growing in Washington state and has been producing classic European varietal wines under the Ste. Michelle label since 1967. The winery combines an ongoing dedication to research with a commitment to classic winemaking traditions. The winery owns 3,500 acres of vineyards in the Columbia Valley of eastern Washington, including Canoe Ridge Estate and Cold Creek. Chateau Ste. Michelle enjoys winemaking partnerships with two of the world’s most distinguished vintners. Col Solare is an alliance with Tuscany’s Piero Antinori and Eroica Riesling is a partnership with the Mosel’s Ernst Loosen.
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