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Ste. Michelle Wine Estates and Antinori Family Break Ground for Col Solare Winery.

RED MOUNTAIN, Wash. -- Ste. Michelle Wine Estates, the leader in Washington state wines, and the Antinori family of Tuscany, Italy, broke ground today for a state-of-the-art winery for their acclaimed Col Solare red wine.

Piero Antinori, one of the leading winemakers and wine company owners in the world, joined Ted Baseler, President and CEO of Ste. Michelle Wine Estates, in turning the first spade of dirt for the winery on Red Mountain, near Prosser, Washington.

The joint venture partnership began making wine with the 1995 vintage using the fine grapes in the vineyards owned or controlled by Chateau Ste. Michelle, the oldest winery in Washington and one of eight wineries owned by Ste. Michelle Wine Estates.

The Antinori family has been making wine since 1385. Its Solaia wine was named the number one wine in the world by Wine Spectator in 2000.

"Red Mountain's reputation for producing superb red varietals such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot led us to choose this site for our Col Solare winery," said Baseler. "We hope to open this beautiful winery in time for harvest in 2006. We will also plant vineyards so that this will be a true estate winery."

Piero Antinori, who received Wine Spectator's "Distinguished Service Award" in 1999 added, "What attracted us to Washington State and Ste. Michelle Wine Estates was the quality of the grapes and the innovative winemaking. This region is emerging as one of the best producers of the very finest wines."

Col Solare, which means "shining hill" in Italian, is a powerful, silky wine made predominantly of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.

Grapes grown on Red Mountain find their way not only into Col Solare, but also into such Washington State icons as Columbia Crest Reserves, DeLille Cellars, Kiona and Hedges.

Up to now, all vintages of Col Solare have been made at Chateau Ste. Michelle's Canoe Ridge winery on the Columbia River.

The Col Solare winery on Red Mountain will be built at 1,000 feet above sea level, with dramatic views east to the Columbia River and west up the verdant Yakima River Valley. It will have wine caves built into the mountain, a tasting room for visitors, and a European-style barrel room adjoining the winemaking cellar.

Ste. Michelle Wine Estates is recognized for pioneering grape growing in Washington state's Columbia Valley. The company's portfolio of Washington wineries includes Chateau Ste. Michelle, Columbia Crest, Domaine Ste. Michelle, Snoqualmie, Northstar, Red Diamond and Stimson Estates Cellars, as well as Conn Creek and Villa Mt. Eden in Napa Valley, California. Ste. Michelle Wine Estates also produces the award-winning Eroica Riesling in partnership with the Mosel's Ernst Loosen and Col Solare with Tuscany's Marchesi Antinori. Ste. Michelle Wine Estates owns 3,500 acres of vineyards in the Columbia Valley of eastern Washington.
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Publication:Business Wire
Date:Jul 15, 2005
Words:463
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