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Ste. Michelle Wine Estates Concludes Record Harvest

Company finishes record three month long harvest; 2016 crop to be largest ever
by Press Release
November 21, 2016

WOODINVILLE, Wash. (November 21, 2016) – Ste. Michelle Wine Estates, the oldest wine producer in the Pacific Northwest and the third-largest premium wine company in the U.S., has just completed its 2016 harvest, and the 2016 vintage looks to be one of the best in recent memory in both quantity and quality.

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In Washington, 2016 saw the earliest start to the growing season on record – the earliest bud break, the earliest bloom, and the earliest onset of veraison. Temperatures moderated later in the season, which delayed ripening and resulted in the longest harvest period on record – a full three months from the first pick on August 13 to the last on November 13.

Washington is also poised to enjoy its largest harvest ever. Ste. Michelle Wine Estates projects that the total crop in Washington will come in somewhere between 275,000 and 280,000 tons, besting the previous record of 227,000 tons in 2014.

Oregon also saw the earliest bud break and start to the growing season in recent memory, with bloom coming in mid-May, a full month ahead of normal. As in Washington, the start of harvest also set a new record, with the first pick on August 25. While temperatures moderated later in the season in Oregon, as well, harvest finished relatively early on September 27, due to the early-ripening nature of the state’s dominant variety, Pinot Noir.

Final harvest figures for both states will be available in early 2017.

“This is my 21st vintage in Washington, and this is the best I have ever seen,” said Darel Allwine, winemaker for Col Solare. “These wines will be enjoyable when they’re young, but will also age for decades to come.”

“We had it all in 2016,” said Bob Bertheau, winemaker for Chateau Ste. Michelle. “With the long season we had plenty of ripeness, but the cooler weather toward the end kept the acidity high. In fact, we’re seeing more cool vintage citrus characteristics in our Riesling, such as lime and mandarin.”

“It’s normal for Washington to enjoy extended hang time, but this year we had about three weeks more than normal,” said Juan Muñoz Oca, winemaker for Columbia Crest. “It’s been remarkable to see so many wines with such richness and complexity, but yet with relatively modest alcohol.”

“Despite it being a warm vintage, the acids held like it was a cooler vintage,” said Gary Horner, winemaker for Erath. “Like the 2015s, the 2016 wines have nice, ripe flavors but still retain that classic Oregon character and freshness.”

“Washington and Oregon wines have been enjoying tremendous growth for many years now, and another outstanding vintage like this will only accelerate that growth,” said Ted Baseler, President and CEO of Ste. Michelle Wine Estates. “The quality of the wines from the Pacific Northwest has never been better, and we have proven that we belong among the world’s greatest winegrowing regions.”

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 more than 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’s Washington portfolio includes Chateau Ste. Michelle, Columbia Crest, 14 Hands, Northstar, Col Solare (in partnership with Italy’s Antinori family), Spring Valley Vineyard, Michelle sparkling wines, Red Diamond and Snoqualmie. In California, the company owns Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars (also with Italy’s Antinori family), Conn Creek and Villa Mt. Eden (Napa Valley), and Patz & Hall (Sonoma). Ste. Michelle also owns Erath, in Dundee, Oregon. The company became the exclusive U.S. importer in 2006 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, for Spain Chile’s Bodegas Torres in 2014.

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