Hold onto your corks, Eastsiders — Chateau Ste. Michelle may be headed out of town. Washington’s oldest + largest winery is pondering a sale of its massive, 118-acre property in Woodinville that includes a warehouse, offices, gardens, amphitheater, and one of the region’s most prominent tasting rooms.
Nothing is fully fermented sales-wise, but the company definitely plans, at least, to move all of its white wine production to Eastern Washington. And if Chateau Ste. Michelle does end up taking everything else with it — lock, stock, and barrels — the impacts to the local wine scene could be huge. Let’s pour over some details.
🍷 End of an era?
Chateau Ste. Michelle’s has cemented a vintage legacy over five decades, lining its cellars with awards + drawing over 300,000 visitors each year for tastings and summer concerts. All that won’t go away immediately — reports say a property sale could take years, if it happens at all. But the hints of downsizing, together with the company’s $1.2 billion sale to a New York-based equity firm last year have Washington wine-watchers’ antennas up.
🍷 We could build an epic bouncy house
No, seriously — there’s a lot you can do all that acreage. However, over half of the Chateau Ste. Michelle site is zoned for residential use only, and the original Hollywood Farm (once owned by lumber baron Frederick Stimson) is on the National Register of Historic Places, which may limit potential development. Still, given the prime location in Woodinville, expect the asking price to be astronomical.
🍷 Glass half full
While losing the fancy Chateau would be a huge loss, the Eastside wine scene has developed in leaps + bounds since Ste. Michelle’s heyday. Here are some more Woodinville names to know, if you’re looking for candidates to fill those grape-crushing shoes.
- Columbia Winery, 14030 NE 145th St. | Another Washington old-timer
- DeLille Cellars, 14300 NE 145th St. | Known for Bordeaux-style blends
- JM Cellars, 14404 137th Pl. NE | Beautiful tasting room patio
- Mark Ryan Winery, 14475 Redmond - Woodinville Rd. NE | Winemaking star Mark McNeilly’s project
- Sparkman Cellars, 14300 NE 145th St. | Several experimental efforts
And don’t forget about Wine Walk Row, the new tasting room destination in the Schoolhouse District. It’s always wine o’ clock somewhere.