Ted Baseler, Chief Operating Officer of Stimson Lane Vineyards & Estates, says the company's recent success with another joint venture in wine making is indicative of a bright future at the Northwest's leading producer of premium and ultra-premium wines.

"The huge acclaim this summer for Eroica, the riesling that Chateau Ste. Michelle is making with Ernst Loosen of Germany, is very gratifying," said Baseler. "This follows similar acclaim in 1999 for Col Solare, the ultra-premium red wine we make with Piero Antinori of Tuscany. And it energizes us for the joint venture winemaking we are doing with Brian Croser, chairman and winemaker for Petaluma Wines in Australia."

Eroica recently received a "91" rating by Wine Spectator, the highest score the influential magazine has ever given an American-made dry riesling. Eroica was also recommended by New York Times riesling expert Howard Goldberg in his column on Sunday, Aug. 20. Grapes for Eroica came from Chateau Ste. Michelle's Cold Creek Vineyard, which consistently produces highly prized white and red wines.

Stimson Lane owns the Chateau Ste. Michelle, Columbia Crest and Snoqualmie wineries in Washington State and the Villa Mt. Eden winery in California's Napa Valley. The company's Domaine Ste. Michelle sparkling wine was the most talked-about American sparkler during the New Year's holiday season.

Baseler continued, "We see such a bright future for the wineries owned by Stimson Lane and for our important joint ventures. Chateau Ste. Michelle's winemaking with Antinori for Col Solare red wine is now entering its third year, and Piero was just out in our vineyards in Eastern Washington looking at specific lots of red grapes for the 2000 Col Solare vintage. He also barrel-tasted the 1998 and 1999 Col Solare with Chateau Ste. Michelle red wine maker Ron Bunnell and was impressed.

"Now we are releasing the Petaluma Bridgewater Mill chardonnay, shiraz and cabernet sauvignon wines from our new joint venture with Brian Croser."

Baseler noted that Croser will be at Chateau Ste. Michelle on Saturday, Aug. 26, to serve as honorary chairman of the annual Auction of Northwest Wines. Over the past decade, the auction, anchored by Stimson Lane's wineries, has raised millions of dollars for Children's Hospital and Regional Medical Center's Uncompensated Care Fund in Seattle and always attracts top winemakers, collectors and critics.

"The goal at Stimson Lane wineries is to produce some of the finest premium wines in the world, using our award-winning Columbia Valley wines as the foundation of our success," Baseler said.

The Chateau Ste. Michelle, Columbia Crest and Villa Mt. Eden wines are consistently among the highest rated in the country.

Columbia Crest earned the distinction of "Winery of the Year" from Wine & Spirits in 1997 and has been named "Best Value Winery in the United States" by Wine Spectator.

Villa Mt. Eden has also been named "Winery of the Year" by Wine & Spirits, and its new Coastal series earned it a "Top 10 Value Brand of 2000" distinction by the same magazine. Villa Mt. Eden has racked up a dozen "Best Buy" designations this year alone.

Chateau Ste. Michelle has been named "Winery of the Year" by Wine & Spirits magazine three out of the last four years. It is Washington State's oldest winery, dating to 1934, immediately following the repeal of Prohibition. The winery was among the first in the state to plant and make wine from European vinifera grapes, in the 1950s, and it remains the Northwest's leader in viticultural research.

Robert M. Parker, Jr. has called Chateau Ste. Michelle "one of the most inspired wineries in the business," and described its chardonnay, cabernet sauvignon and merlot wines as "among the finest in America."

Stimson Lane, Chateau Ste. Michelle's parent company, is the largest owner of prime vineyards in Washington State, with 3,400 acres. It also controls the quality and quantity of grapes on another 12,000 acres of vineyards in the state through grower contracts.

Stimson Lane is headquartered 25 minutes east of Seattle in Woodinville, Washington, at the Chateau Ste. Michelle Winery on the 1912 Frederick Stimson Estate, which is in the National Historic Registry. Thousands of visitors tour the grounds and winery each year, and Chateau Ste. Michelle's summer concerts feature major recording artists who draw thousands of fans. Net proceeds from the concerts benefit the arts in Seattle.