Chateau Ste. Michelle Facts


  • Grape Varieties:
    Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, Gewurztraminer, Malbec, Merlot, Pinot Gris, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Syrah
  • Founded:
    1954
  • Important People:
    Bob Bertheau
  • Appellation:
    Columbia Valley AVA, Washington
  • Annual Case Production:
    2,000,000+
  • Location:
    Woodinville, WA, USA

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Chateau Ste. Michelle
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Chateau Michelle Image
Chateau Ste. Michelle is an absolutely massive operation. Producing 2,000,000 cases of wine annually, it's the world leader in Riesling output. So big is this operation, that Ste. Michelle has two completely separate wineries, one for whites and the other for reds.

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The original estate, where production of white wine occurs, is Chateau Ste. Michelle, located in Woodinville, Washington, about 15 miles north of Seattle. The Canoe Ridge Estate, located in the Columbia Valley AVA in eastern Washington, is where Ste. Michelle red wine is produced. The vast majority of grapes grown for Ste. Michelle wines also come from the Columbia Valley, where Ste. Michelle has over 3,500 acres of vineyards planted.

Shielded from the rain which pummels western Washington by the Cascade mountains, the Columbia Valley receives sufficient summer sun and steady warmth to develop ripe berries. Cold Creek Vineyard, the first plot planted by Ste. Michelle in 1972, consists of silty loam soil, yielding moderate crop loads of high concentration.

Winemaker Bob Bertheau has taken this huge producer's white wines to a higher level since his ascension to the top position in 2004.
His Chardonnays are reasonably priced and widely available in the retail market. This winery also has a long track record for crisp, juicy Rieslings with noteworthy flavor intensity. Most savory of all is their Eroica, a slightly off-dry stone-fruit-and-spice-bomb of a Riesling made with the participation of Germany's Ernst Loosen. The less complex -- and somewhat sweet -- basic Columbia Valley bottling is hard to beat in its price range.

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Chateau Michelle Image: © dherrera_96. Image licensed under Creative Commons License Attribution 2.0.