Chateau Ste. Michelle
Summary: Chateau Ste. Michelle is a winery destination site. Enjoy the delightful park-like atmosphere as you walk to the winery and chateau. The winery is the oldest Washington State winery. They are one of the leading producers of Riesling in the world. Pack a picnic lunch and plan to stay the day. The winery provides a Summer Concert Series.
Visitors to the winery will be delighted with the ambiance of the property. A driveway leads between several rows of grapevines to the parking area that is surrounded by gardens and a park-like area. Walking towards the winery, the views of the Manor House and winery are delightful. Chateau Ste. Michelle attracts 300,000 visitors each year.
Historical Details of Chateau Ste. Michelle Winery
In 1912 Frederick Stimson, a lumber baron, established the 87-acre property as Hollywood Farm. He located his summer home here. It is now the Manor House. Today the Manor House and gardens are on the National Register of Historic Places.
Between 1934 and 1935 two wine companies were formed in Washington State: National Wine Company and Pommerelle Fruit Wines. In 1951, the National Wine Company planted vinifera varieties in the Columbia Valley beginning with Grenache. By 1954, Pommerelle Fruit Wines and National Wine Company merged and became American Wine Growers.
Eleven years later, the American Wine Growers planted white Riesling in the Yakima Valley. By 1967 the company was producing wines including Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Semillon, and Grenache Rosé under the Ste. Michelle label.
In 1976, they built the Chateau for producing wine and conducting wine tours. In addition, they added the word Chateau to their name. In the early 1990’s, Chateau Ste. Michelle constructed and opened the Canoe Ridge Estate Winery, which today handles the red wine production.
European Winemaker Partnerships
The late 1990’s saw the formation of partnerships with European winemakers including Marchese Piero Antinori of Tuscany and Dr. Ernst Loosen of Germany. The result of the partnership with Marchese Piero Antinori is the Col Solare Winery located in Washington. Dr. Ernst Loosen and Chateau Ste. Michelle created an off-dry Riesling, Eroica and a sweet wine, Single Berry Select.
The three estate vineyards are Canoe Ridge Estate Vineyard, Cold Creek Vineyard and Horse Heaven Vineyard. Grapes are also sourced from growers in the Columbia Valley AVA. The vineyards at Cold Creek and Canoe Ridge Estate Vineyards have sustainable certification for LIVE (Low Input Viticulture and Enology) and Salmon Safe.
The winery at Chateau Ste. Michelle in Woodinville produces only white wines. Stainless steel tanks line the rooms, row after row. Currently this winery produces white wine. Red wines are produced at Chateau Ste. Michelle’s Canoe Ridge Estate Winery. Together the two winery facilities produce nearly 2,000,000 cases of wine.
Our tasting began with the Dry Riesling 2009. This light, yellow wine offered a floral aroma. The taste had peach nuances with a hint of minerality. The finish was crisp and fruity with minerality. Eroica 2008 was a Riesling produced as a result of a partnership with Ernst Loosen of Germany. The Eroica has been produced since 2000. Eroica had a light yellow color with mineral notes on the aroma. The taste had nuances of mineral, peach and other stone fruit. The crisp finish was fruity. Chardonnay 2007 Canoe Ridge Vineyard offered an aroma of oak and pear. The taste had pear notes and was creamy with caramel. The finish was fruity with caramel influences.
Merlot 2007 Canoe Ridge Estate had a dark purple with light purple rim color. There were red cherry and mineral notes. The taste had red cherry nuances. The finish was crisp with light tannins. Meritage 2006 was a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec and Petite Verdot. The wine was a dark purple to black color. There were black fruit nuances with a hint of cedar on the aroma. The taste had blackberry notes. The finish was fruity with tannins.
Ethos 2005 was a Late Harvest White Riesling. The color was yellow. There were mineral notes with a hint of botrytis on the aroma. The smooth taste offered honeysuckle and mineral notes. The clean finish was sweet and dried on the aftertaste.
Wine Tastings and Winery Events
The Woodinville winery offers visitors several wine tasting options. Wine enthusiasts can choose between Columbia Valley Tour & Tasting, a Theme Tasting, Vintage Reserve Tasting and an Ultimate Wine Tasting. A Garden Tour is also available. Details may be found on the Chateau Ste. Michelle website.
Public events offered at the winery include summer concerts, cooking classes, wine appreciation classes and Pacific Northwest food & wine dinners.
The gift shop is extensive and travelers may enjoy spending time browsing the numerous items available. Also in the gift shop is a recently published cookbook by Chateau Ste. Michelle’s Culinary Director John Sarich. Chef in the Vineyard has more than 140 recipes and dynamic photographs of wineries and food.
When visiting Chateau Ste. Michelle, take a picnic basket and plan to spend the day. There is much to see and do at the Woodinville site.
Chateau Ste. Michelle
14111 NE 145th Street
Woodinville, Washington 98072
GPS: N47º 43.825’ W122º 09.115’
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