Leading wine company in the US in the state of Washington with headquarters in Woodinville (King County). There is extensive winery and vineyard ownership in the three U.S. states California
, The company's origins lie after prohibition in 1934, when the predecessor of today's "Château Ste Michelle" was founded under the name "National Wine Company". In 1954 a merger with the "Pomerelle Wine Company" and renaming to "American Wine Growers". Mainly fortified sweet wines were produced. From 1967 the famous oenologist was André Tchelistcheff
(1901-1994) worked as a consultant. He introduced European varieties and created the premium wine line "Ste Michelle", which then gave the winery and company the later name. The company, renamed "Ste Michelle Vintners" in 1970, was sold to a group of investors in 1973 and taken over by UST (US Smokeless Tobacco Company) in 1974. This year, the groundbreaking ceremony for the headquarters in Woodinville took place in the style of a French château. There is an amphitheater on the premises, where outdoor concerts are held with well-known artists such as Gypsy Kings, Tony Bennett or BB King.
The “Château Ste Michelle” is the largest and oldest winery in the state of Washington and is also the flagship of the company “Ste Michelle Wine Estates”. The vineyards in Washington cover a total of 1,400 hectares. The Canoe Ridge and Cold Creek vineyards in the Columbia Valley account for around 500 hectares. There Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, Gewurztraminer, Malbec, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Pinot Noir, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Sémillon, Syrah, Touriga and Viognier are mainly processed into varietals (varietal wines). The wide range of wines is marketed in the groups Tiers, Vineyards and Varietals. Late Harvest and Icewines are also pressed. The new Columbia Crest winery near Paterson on the Columbia River went into operation in 1983.
All wineries and wineries were then combined in 1984 under the umbrella company "Stimson Lane Vineyards and Estates". As a result, wineries in Napa Valley, California were taken over and the portfolio expanded to today's size. These are the vineyards and wineries or wine brands 14 Hands, Col Solare (2005), Columbia Crest (1983), Château Ste Michelle for wines, Domaine Ste Michelle for sparkling wine (1996), Red Diamond (2005), Snoqualmie (2002), Northstar (2002) and Spring Valley (2005) in Washington, Erath
(2006) in Oregon and Big Ranch Vineyard, Conn Creek (1986), Hawk Crest, Herrick Vineyard, Stag's Leap Wine Cellars
(2007) and Villa Mt. Eden (1986) in Napa Valley
in California. There are also several partnerships.
In 1995 it became a partnership with the Italian wine legend Marchese Piero Antinori
received and created the red wine cuvée "Col Solare" (Eng. "Shining Mountain"). Since 2005 the wine has been produced on its own winery of the same name. The varieties Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Malbec, Cabernet Franc and Syrah are grown on 30 hectares of vineyards in the Heaven Hills vineyard. There are exclusive distribution rights in the USA for the products of the Antinori wineries Antica Napa Valley (California), Haras (Chile), La Braccesca (Tuscany), Montenisa (Lombardy), Santa Cristina (Tuscany) and Tormaresca (Apulia). In 1999, in a joint venture with the well-known German winemaker Ernst Loosen from the Mosel winery Dr. Loosen
created the Riesling "Eroica", which is one of the most award-winning Rieslings in the USA.
In 2004 the company was renamed “Ste Michelle Wine Estates” (SMWE) to give a clear expression of its historical background and corporate philosophy. It is still a 100% subsidiary of UST (US Smokeless Tobacco Company). This was taken over at the beginning of 2009 by the giant US tobacco multi "Altria Group", formerly "Philip Morris Companies" (with the leading brand "Marlboro"). See also under largest wine companies in the world