Chalone Wine Group President and CEO Thomas B. Selfridge announced the upcoming brand launch of Sagelands Vineyard, the company's newest Washington state winery which is set to nationally release a 1998 super-premium Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot this fall.

The red-only brand will make wines from grapes grown within Columbia Valley's "Four Corners" area. This area encompasses the Yakima and Walla Walla Valleys, as well as Horse Heaven Hills and the Wahluke Slope, all distinctive mesoclimates within the Columbia Valley.

On Friday, June 16, an inaugural reception will be held for local dignitaries, media members and wine trade at the Sagelands estate winery located just ten miles from Yakima. The event will begin at 11 a.m. with a special pre-release tasting of the 1998 Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot wines and barrel tasting of the 1999 vintage. The 1998 Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot wines will be available nationally by September.

Attendees will meet with Sagelands new Winemaker and General Manager Kevin Mott for an informal tasting, followed by a discussion of Sagelands' future plans with Mott and Selfridge. A luncheon at the winery will follow, catered by Birchfield Manor, pairing local produce and game with the Sagelands 1998 Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot wines.

Chalone Wine Group Chairman Philip Woodward was integral in establishing the national reputation of Washington State winemaking through his initial involvement with Woodward Canyon in the early-1980s as well as the 1989 launch of Chalone Wine Group's renowned estate Merlot producer, Canoe Ridge Vineyard.

"Chalone Wine Group is the only California wine company to make such a major investment in Washington, and has done so as part of our mission to locate vineyards that produce superlative fruit unique to their growing region. Washington is gaining recognition for producing some of America's finest Cabernet Sauvignons and Merlots," said Woodward.

Inspired by Woodward, it was Selfridge who seized the opportunity to acquire an additional Washington winery. He negotiated the purchase the state-of-the-art winemaking facility and later purchased adjoining land that he considered to be exceptional Cabernet Sauvignon soil. The fruit of his labor is Sagelands Vineyard that features fruit-forward Bordeaux varietals at competitive prices.

"Sagelands wines are consumer-friendly and will be received well in the market place. With the help of our national network of distributors, we are enthusiastic about spreading the word about Washington winemaking to a larger audience," said Selfridge.

Those interested in attending the event at Sagelands may make reservations by calling the winery at 509/877-2112. Sagelands Vineyard is located outside of Yakima at 71 Gangle Road, Wapato.

Prior to the Sagelands reception at the winery, CEO Selfridge and Winemaker Mott will host two media receptions in Seattle: a dinner at 7 p.m. at Sazeracm, 1101 Fourth Avenue and then on Thursday, June 15, a reception at the Four Seasons Hotel between 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. To attend either event, please RSVP by Tuesday to Liz Dueland at 707/254-4263.

Chalone Wine Group, Ltd. (the "Company") is a Napa-based company specializing in premium white and red varietal wines. In California, the Company owns and operates Chalone Vineyard® in Monterey County, Acacia(TM) Winery in the Carneros District of Napa County, Jade Mountain brand in Napa County and Carmenet® Vineyard in Sonoma County. In conjunction with its 50 percent joint-venture partner, Paragon Vineyard Co., the Company also owns and operates Edna Valley Vineyard® in San Luis Obispo County. Additionally, the Company produces and markets wines of Central Coast appellation under the brand name Echelon Vineyards(TM). In the state of Washington, the Company owns and operates Sagelands Winery(TM) and is a 50.5 percent managing partner in Canoe Ridge Vineyard®. In the Bordeaux region of France, the Company owns 23.5 percent of the fourth-growth estate of Chateau Duhart-Milon, in partnership with Domaines Barons de Rothschild (Lafite) which owns the other 76.5 percent.