Production: (1995) ?
The winery was designed in 1979, primarily underground in order to maintain year-round temperature and humidity, and construction was begun in 1981. The winery's first production year was 1982 (though it was not yet completed), and was known as the River Ridge facility of Chateau Ste. Michelle. The first releases bearing the Columbia Crest name (all whites) were in 1985. Although initially the winery was intended as "the Eastern Washington arm" of Chateau Ste. Michelle, it was set up as a completely independent "sister" winery in 1987. It is still a wholly owned subsidiary of Stimson Lane Vineyards & Estates of Woodinville WA, which is in turn a wholly owned subsidiary of U.S. Tobacco.
employees: 88 full-time, 21 part-time
412k sq feet; 180k warehouse, 232; cellar, barrel room, bottling line fermentation cap: 8500 tons tank cap: 4.5M gals palletized barrel storage: 17k barrel racks case good storage: 1M French oak upright tanks: 20 @ 64k gals American Oak upright tanks: 33 @ 117k gals Bottling cap: 13k cases/day (750 mL) (2 ten hours shifts) Bottling tanks: 4 @ 8k gals Stemmer/Crusher: one, used for red only, cap 5 tons/hour Pressing cap: 1k tons/day Refrigerated stainless steel tanks: 212 @ 1.7 Mgals
In 1999 all Stimson Lane port wines (including Whidbey's Liqueur) were made at this facility by winemaker Ray Einberger.
In 1978 about 500 acres of vineyards were planted by Chateau Ste. Michelle. An additional 400 acres were planted for each of the next 3 years. In 1991 another 150 acres were planted.
Varietal Acres Chardonnay 370 Chenin Blanc 278 Gewurtztraminer 43 Muscat Canelli 15 Muller Thurgau 10 Sauvignon Blanc 220 Semillon 273 White Riesling 475
The Wines: Current releases (Spring 1996)
Ray Einberger 2003-present
Red Winemaker: Gordon Hill ?-?
Asst Winemaker: Joy Andersen ?-present
Vineyard Manager: Jerry Decoto
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