Earlier this month, Washington wine company Stimson Lane Vineyards & Estates changed its name to Ste. Michelle Wine Estates, after its flagship brand, Chateau Ste. Michelle.
The company, which has produced 17 Wine Spectator Top 100 wines in the past five years, owns nine Washington labels, including Columbia Crest, Northstar, Snoqualmie, Domaine Ste. Michelle, Red Diamond, Stimson Estate Cellars, Col Solare, a joint venture with Tuscany's Piero Antinori and Eroica, a joint-venture Riesling with Germany's Ernst Loosen. It also owns two California wineries, Villa Mt. Eden and Conn Creek, which specializes in Cabernet Sauvignon.
Stimson Lane took its original name from the estate on which Chateau Ste. Michelle was built. Company president and CEO Ted Baseler said the new moniker reflects Chateau Ste. Michelle's history as a leader in Washington's fine-wine industry; it has been producing wine since 1967.
Baseler said the popularity of Washington wines prompted the name change. "The company is changing its name now because it is not the same company it was even five years ago," he added. "Washington wines are more popular than ever, including Riesling."