Washington’s founding winery Chateau Ste Michelle was named “Wine Brand of the Year” by Market Watch at the publication’s “Leaders Choice Awards” ceremony Sept. 17th in New York. A group of “Leaders,” more than 200 top store owners whose combined annual revenues exceed $10 billion, vote for “the established and new brands in spirits, wine and beer.” In its October issue, the trade magazine cited the winery’s impressive growth over the last decade as the major factor for the winery’s recognition.
“Washington State’s most famous wine is on a stellar growth ride…At the start of this decade, Chateau Ste. Michelle’s volume sat at 775,000 cases. Last year, it reached 1.76 million cases…A number of factors are contributing to this trend, paramount among them is the newfound popularity of Riesling. Chateau Ste. Michelle has been a major Riesling producer for more than 40 years, and it was among the first to plant Riesling in Washington…But Riesling is by no means the only varietal in Chateau Ste. Michelle’s repertoire…Chateau Ste. Michelle shows plenty of diversity overall, coming in many creative expressions across a variety of tiers. That creativity, along with a relentless focus, has created a winner.”
“We are proud of this honor and the milestone it represents for the winery,” says Ted Baseler, president of Ste. Michelle Wine Estates. “After decades of investing in quality vineyards, leading winemaking equipment and top winemaking talent, it is gratifying to see it all come together in terms of quality and growth. It’s very rewarding to have our efforts recognized by leaders in the industry and our customers.”
It has been a banner year so far for the winery, which has earned numerous industry honors, including the Chateau Ste. Michelle 2007 Dry Riesling winning “Best Riesling of the New World” in the 2008 International Riesling Competition run by Rheinland Pfalz in Germany. Chateau Ste. Michelle’s 2006 Canoe Ridge Estate Chardonnay won the “Regional Trophy” for best American Chardonnay in the Decanter Magazine 2008 World Wine Awards. And the Chateau Ste. Michelle & Dr. Loosen 2007 Eroica won “Best New World Riesling” in the International Eastern Wine Competition held in New York.
Additionally, Chateau Ste. Michelle wines have received thirty-five 90-point or higher scores from leading wine publications to date in 2008, and 35 gold medals and six double golds in national wine competitions. Chateau Ste. Michelle has also received 14 Wine Spectator magazine “Top 100” wines in 13 years.
“I think the winery’s success is a combination of amazing grapes and amazing people,” says Bob Bertheau, Chateau Ste. Michelle head winemaker. “Entering my sixth harvest in Washington state, I now see how special our growing climate and soils are here, along with our great winemaking and vineyard teams whose passion rivals my own! I have a true appreciation of the fruit from each of our vineyards and the different viticultural regions around the state. And having just bottled the 2006 reds and 2007 whites, in the middle of blending the 2007 reds and starting to pick grapes for this year’s harvest, I think the best is yet to come.”
Founded in 1934, Chateau Ste. Michelle pioneered vinifera grape growing in Washington state and has been producing classic European varietal wines under the Chateau 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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