Ste. Michelle Wine Estates Kicks Off 2015 Harvest
WOODINVILLE, Wash. (August 17, 2015) – Winemakers and grape growers across Washington State have officially started the 2015 harvest and are eager to see what nature has delivered. Winemaking and viticultural experts at Ste. Michelle Wine Estates, the Northwest's oldest and most-acclaimed producer of premium wines, report that the 2015 harvest is expected to be yet another in a string of great vintages yielding outstanding wines from across the state’s growing regions.
For Washington, 2015 brought a warmer than average growing season that is on pace to exceed last year’s record heat. Doug Gore, the Executive Vice President of Winemaking, Vineyards & Operations at Ste. Michelle Wine Estates, explains that, “There were early signs pointing to a warmer than average summer. In preparation, we set our crop loads accordingly to help slow maturation. Now, with what looks to be the earliest start to harvest in recent memory, we are well positioned for extended hang time and full flavor development.” Ste. Michelle’s first pick of the season occurred on August 11th, consisting of Sauvignon Blanc from Upland Vineyard on Snipes Mountain.
A lower than normal snowpack and warmer than average temperatures prompted early concerns of drought across Washington, but as the growing season progressed, wine grapes, which use much less water compared to other crops, have maintained adequate water supplies across the state. Additionally, well-timed rainfall in May stimulated early canopy growth, which has helped to protect the fruit from overexposure. Drier weather has also kept disease pressures to a minimum, with no reported instances of mold or mildew.
Overall, Ste. Michelle is expecting an abundant and high-quality crop roughly similar in size to last year’s, yielding somewhere between 230,000 and 240,000 tons statewide. Again, Cabernet Sauvignon looks particularly promising. With a long, warm summer and little rain fall, Cabernet Sauvignon is expected to yield rich, ripe berries. With demand for the varietal continuing to grow, and plantings increasing year-over-year, Washington Cabernet Sauvignon should remain strong for the foreseeable future.
“The 2015 vintage is proving to be a very successful one and will help meet the growing demand for Washington State wines,” said Ted Baseler, President and CEO of Ste. Michelle Wine Estates. “We anticipate a string of world-class wines from this spectacular vintage.”
About Ste. Michelle Wine Estates
Ste. Michelle Wine Estates is the third-largest premium wine company in the U.S. The company, located outside of Seattle, Wash., has a distinguished history that dates back 80 years to 1934. Wines under the Ste. Michelle label were first introduced in 1967, and since that time the company has expanded its vineyard holdings to more than 3,900 acres in Washington, Oregon and California. Today its ‘String of Pearls’ wine portfolio represents owned or imported brands that demonstrate the producers’ unwavering commitment to creating distinctive, high quality wines from authentic estate vineyards.
Ste. Michelle Wine Estates’ Washington state portfolio includes Chateau Ste. Michelle, Columbia Crest, 14 Hands, Northstar, Spring Valley Vineyard, Col Solare, Michelle sparkling wines, Red Diamond, and Snoqualmie. The company also owns Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars (with Italy’s Antinori family), Conn Creek and Villa Mt. Eden in the Napa Valley of California; and Erath in the Willamette Valley of Oregon. In 2006, Ste. Michelle Wine Estates became the exclusive U.S. importer for the acclaimed Marchesi Antinori wine portfolio of Italy and Chile’s Haras wines, for Champagne Nicolas Feuillatte of France in 2009, for New Zealand’s Villa Maria Estate in 2010, and for Miguel Torres of Spain and Chile in 2014. For more information on Ste. Michelle Wine Estates, visit http://www.smwe.com.