Riesling Growth Rises Over Other White Wines for Three Straight Years

Mon Jun 9, 2008 11:00am EDT

* Reuters is not responsible for the content in this press release.

Chateau Ste. Michelle Leads the Resurgence of the Noble White
                                 Grape
WOODINVILLE, Wash.--(Business Wire)--
Two decades ago many U.S. grape growers were ripping out Riesling
vines to plant more Chardonnay as Riesling was falling out of favor in
the marketplace. Today consumers have rediscovered Riesling, making it
the fastest-growing white wine varietal for the third straight year.

   During the 12-month period ending May 3, 2008, Riesling was the
fastest-growing white varietal and second-fastest growing of all
varietals, second to Pinot Noir, according to AC Nielsen data. Sales
of Riesling have increased 54% over the past 3 years (according to
Nielsen data). At the forefront of the growth of the Riesling category
is Washington state's pioneering winery Chateau Ste. Michelle, whose
Columbia Valley Riesling is the best-selling Riesling in the United
States. The winery is the leading global Riesling producer and the
category leader of this growing Riesling market.

   Chateau Ste. Michelle winemaker Bob Bertheau attributes the
resurgence of Riesling to the appealing flavor of the wine and its
tremendous food affinity.

   "One of the best things about Riesling is that it tends to be low
in alcohol, yet high in character and flavor," says Bertheau. "Its
fruitiness and crisp acidity makes it wonderful with food, especially
spicy cuisines. And there is no other grape variety in the world that
can be made in so many different styles, from bone dry to decadently
sweet and everything in between. It astonishes me how well Riesling
captures the taste - the terroir - of where it's grown."

   Chateau Ste. Michelle has been a champion of Riesling for more
than 40 years and was among the first to plant Riesling in the state
of Washington. Ste. Michelle was catapulted into the national
spotlight when its 1972 Johannisberg Riesling won the now-famous
Riesling blind tasting sponsored by the Los Angeles Times. Today,
Chateau Ste. Michelle offers up to eight different Riesling styles
designed to showcase the versatility of Riesling and the regional
styles within Washington's Columbia Valley, which produces more
Riesling than any other American wine region.

   "We attribute our success with Riesling to the unique growing
conditions of Washington state, which is ideally suited for Riesling,
as well as our long-term commitment to producing top-quality
Riesling," says Ted Baseler, president, Ste. Michelle Wine Estates.
"One of the goals of Ste. Michelle since the winery was founded has
been to continually improve the quality and image of Riesling. It is
rewarding now to see consumers discover the great qualities of this
noble grape."

   Riesling Gets its Own Event - Riesling Rendezvous July 27-29

   Chateau Ste. Michelle's commitment to Riesling led it to host the
largest trade event dedicated to Riesling in the United States, called
"Riesling Rendezvous," in June 2007. Co-hosted by Dr. Loosen, the
highly acclaimed German Riesling estate and partner with Ste. Michelle
on Eroica Riesling, the event is designed to bring together leading
Riesling experts and producers to explore the versatility of Rieslings
from around the world. The event was so successful, Chateau Ste.
Michelle & Dr. Loosen will host the second Riesling Rendezvous July
27-29, 2008, at Chateau Ste. Michelle winery in Woodinville,
Washington, which will feature a grand consumer tasting, blind panel
tastings and interactive breakout sessions.

   "The success of last year's program, combined with global interest
in Riesling, encouraged us to hold the event again," says Baseler. "It
is an honor to have winemakers from Europe, Australia, New Zealand,
Canada, Michigan, Washington, Oregon, California and New York come to
Seattle to celebrate Riesling. This year's program will allow Riesling
experts, winemakers, journalists, trade and devoted Riesling fans to
explore all aspects of Riesling."

   Riesling Rendezvous kicks off with a grand consumer tasting on the
grounds of Chateau Ste. Michelle in Woodinville, Wash., on Sunday,
July 27th, from 5-8 p.m., featuring 70 wineries from around the world.
July 28th is dedicated to blind tastings guided by distinguished
producers to explore Riesling styles, from powerful dry wines of
Austria, Alsace and Australia to the elegant German variations and
flavorful, spicy interpretations from North America. July 29th
features breakout sessions on compelling Riesling issues, including:
Ageability of Riesling, Riesling at the Table, Decoding Riesling for
the U.S. Market, Producers Only Roundtable, Discovering New World
Riesling Terroir and Digging into Old World Riesling Terroir.

   To purchase tickets for the Riesling Rendezvous Grand Tasting on
July 27, go to www.ste-michelle.com/riesling. Tickets for the Grand
Tasting are $50. (Attendance is limited to ages 21 and older.) The
July 28 & 29 trade seminars are SOLD OUT.

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Riesling Rendezvous Grand Tasting Participating Producers:
----------------------------------------------------------

Austria

Hirsch
Jurtschitsch Sonnhof
Loimer
Nikolaihof

Australia

C.A. Henschke & Co.
Frankland Estate
Frogmore Creek Vineyard
Jacob's Creek
Leasingham
Petaluma Australia
Pewsey Vale Vineyards

Canada

Cave Spring Cellars
Mission Hill Winery
Quail's Gate Estate Winery
Tantalus Vineyards

France

F.E. Trimbach
Lucien Albrecht

Germany

Donnhoff
Dr. Loosen
Egon Muller-Scharzhof
Furst Lowenstein
Gunderloch
J.L. Wolf
Josef Leitz
Juliusspital
Robert Weil
Schlossgut Diel
St. Urbans-Hof

New Zealand

Felton Road
Pegasus Bay Winery
Pyramid Valley Vineyards
Waipara Hills Estate

United States

14 Hands
Amity Vineyards
Anthony Road Wine Co.
Bridgeview Vineyards
Brooks Wines
Chateau Grand Traverse
Chateau Ste. Michelle
Chehalem
Clos du Bois
Columbia Winery
Columbia Crest
Covey Run
Daedalus Cellars
Dr. Konstantin Frank
Efeste
Elk Cove
Erath
Fess Parker Winery
Fox Run Vineyards
Francis Ford Coppola's Rosso & Bianco Winery
Hogue Cellars
Montinore Estate
Navarro Vineyards
Nefarious Cellars
Olsen Estates
Pacific Rim
Pey Marin Vineyards
Poet's Leap
Scott Harvey and Jana Wines
Shady Lane Cellars
Sheldrake Point Vineyard
Snoqualmie
Trefethen
Tsillan Cellars
Tulip Valley Vineyard & Orchard
Unionville Vineyards
Ventana Vineyards
Willamette Valley Vineyards
*T

   About Chateau Ste. Michelle

   Founded in 1934, Chateau Ste. Michelle pioneered vinifera grape
growing in Washington state and has been producing classic European
varietal wines under the Chateau Ste. Michelle label since 1967. The
winery combines an ongoing dedication to research with a commitment to
classic winemaking traditions. The winery owns 3,500 acres of
vineyards in the Columbia Valley of eastern Washington, including
Canoe Ridge Estate and Cold Creek. Chateau Ste. Michelle enjoys
winemaking partnerships with two of the world's most distinguished
vintners. Col Solare is an alliance with Tuscany's Piero Antinori and
Eroica Riesling is a partnership with the Mosel's Ernst Loosen.

   About Dr. Loosen Estate

   The Dr. Loosen estate has a 200-year tradition of producing
Riesling in Germany's Mosel region. With his modern world view and his
traditional approach to winemaking, Ernst Loosen strives to produce
wines that unmistakably express the character of Riesling and of the
vineyards where they are grown. Decanter magazine named Ernst Loosen
2005 "Man of the Year" for his perseverance in promoting and producing
great Rieslings around the world.

   Riesling Rendezvous is a service mark of Ste. Michelle Wine
Estates Ltd.

Chateau Ste. Michelle
Lynda Eller, 425-415-3364
lynda.eller@ste-michelle.com

Copyright Business Wire 2008
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