Chateau Ste. Michelle to re-open Canoe Ridge Estate for tastings, tours

By on April 1, 2013

Canoe Ridge Estate

Chateau Ste. Michelle’s Canoe Ridge Estate winemaking facility and tasting room is in the southern Horse Heaven Hills. (Photo by Andy Perdue/Great Northwest Wine)

PATERSON, Wash. – Chateau Ste. Michelle will re-open its Canoe Ridge Estate tasting room to visitors starting Friday, April 5.

This is the third year in which Ste. Michelle will have opened its most remote – and arguably its most beautiful – winemaking facility to the public. It will be open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays through October.

Chateau Ste. Michelle makes all of its red wines at its Canoe Ridge Estate facility. It planted the vineyard in 1991 on the recommendation of the late Walter Clore, considered by many to be the father of Washington wine. The winemaking facility was built in 1993.

Canoe Ridge Estate

The Columbia River sweeps past Canoe Ridge in the southern Horse Heaven Hills. This is the view from Chateau Ste. Michelle’s Canoe Ridge Estate tasting room. (Photo by Andy Perdue/Great Northwest Wine)

The region gets its name from a legend that holds that the explorers Meriwether Lewis and William Clark were floating down the Columbia River more than 200 years ago and believed the ridge resembled an upside-down canoe.

Adjacent to Canoe Ridge Estate is Canoe Ridge Vineyard, planted in 1989 by Chalone Wine Group in California. The company later opened a winery with the same name in Walla Walla. The winery and vineyard now are owned by Precept Wine in Seattle.

Canoe Ridge is in the southern Horse Heaven Hills overlooking the Columbia River and northern Oregon. It is about 15 minutes west of Columbia Crest, which is owned by Ste. Michelle Wine Estates.

MOG Monster at Canoe Ridge Estate

In 2009, Ste. Michelle installed a “MOG Monster” at the Canoe Ridge Estate facility. The two-story-tall contraption processes harvested grapes and removes MOG (material other than grapes) that can cause off-flavors in red wines. The system is credited with helping Ste. Michelle dramatically raise the quality of its red wines. In fact, last fall, Ste. Michelle’s 2009 Cold Creek Cabernet Sauvignon and 2010 Indian Wells Cabernet Sauvignon each won Platinums in Wine Press Northwest’s annual “best of the best” competition.

This year, the Canoe Ridge Estate staff will play host to a weekly “Cellar Sample Friday” as guests will be able to taste barrel samples. Every third Friday, winemakers will lead tours of the facility. Each day the tasting room is open, patrons will be able to taste single-vineyard and reserve wines.

There is a $5 tasting fee, which will be refunded with the purchase of wine.

Get driving directions to Canoe Ridge Estate.

About Andy Perdue

Andy Perdue is the editor and publisher of Great Northwest Wine. He is a third-generation journalist who has worked at newspapers since the mid-1980s and has been writing about wine since 1998. He co-founded Wine Press Northwest magazine with Eric Degerman and served as its editor-in-chief for 15 years. He is a frequent judge at international wine competitions. He is the author of "The Northwest Wine Guide: A Buyer's Handbook" (Sasquatch, 2003) and has contributed to four other books. He writes about wine for The Seattle Times. You can find him on Twitter and .

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