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Columbia Crest presented with #1 Wine Award

Ste. Michelle Wine Estates President and CEO, Ted Baseler, presented the
first Washington wine to be named the No. 1 Wine in the World – the 2005
Columbia Crest Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon – at Wine Spectator’s New World
Wine Experience in Las Vegas on October 30, 2010.

The weekend Wine Experience event included the “Wine Spectator’s Top 10
Wine Tasting,” which showcased the Top 10 wines from 2009 as selected by
the Wine Spectator board of editors and published in the December 31, 2009
issue. More than 1,000 people attended the seminar where Baseler presented
the Columbia Crest wine along with a panel of luminaries from Tuscany and
Spain to the Rhône Valley and California, each taking the opportunity to
comment on their wine as the audience tasted.

Wine Spectator’s tasting staff reviewed more than 17,000 new-release wines
last year, rating more than 3,800 at 90 points and higher on the 100-point
scale. From there, the wines were narrowed down by price (value), case
production (availability) and the “X-factor,” or excitement.

“Columbia Crest’s ability to combine quality and value has earned it 14
places on our Top 100 since `97” stated Gloria Maroti Frazee, director of
video and education for the Wine Spectator. “Columbia Crest and Winemaker
Ray Einberger have reached the top spot. This wine really delivers; with
each sip you can taste Washington state’s trade mark combination of ripe
fruit and great structure. Combine that with a 95-point score, a $27 price
tag and a 5,000 case production and you’ve got X-factor,” Mariot Frazee
concluded.

Baseler presented the wine on behalf of Columbia Crest and during his
speech he shared the history of the winery and the Washington wine
industry, background on the winery’s Reserve program, and the winemaking
techniques.

View Baseler’s presentation of the 2005 Columbia Crest Reserve Cabernet
Sauvignon at the Wine Experience “Top 10 Wine Tasting.”

Later in the evening, at the Grand Award Banquet, a lavish black-tie dinner
that was the crowning event of the weekend, Wine Spectator editors
presented Baseler with the award for the producer of the 2009 No. 1 wine
from its Top 100. Columbia Crest Head winemaker, Ray Einberger and
Executive Vice President of Winemaking and Vineyards, Doug Gore were also
in attendance.

Columbia Crest’s Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon has been ranked previously on
the magazine’s Top 100 list. In 2004, Wine Spectator ranked the 2001
Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon No. 30, and over the years 15 Columbia Crest
wines have been named to the Top 100 list.

Einberger, who became head winemaker in 2003, joined Columbia Crest in 1993
and helped to establish the winery’s Reserve program, which has received
consistently strong acclaim.

Columbia Crest’s Reserve wines are hand-crafted in le petit chai, a small
winery within the overall winery. The chai is dedicated to Walter Clore,
the father of the Washington wine industry, and it’s there that the
artisanal approach to winemaking is reminiscent of the top boutique
wineries and châteaux. In fact, cellar techniques are modeled, in part, on
Einberger’s experience working in the cellars of Château Mouton-Rothschild
and Château Clerc Milon in Bordeaux and Opus One in Napa Valley.

Founded in 1983, Columbia Crest has grown from a small winery in a
relatively unknown wine region to one of the most significant wineries in
the U.S. and a major force behind Washington state’s emergence as a world
class wine region. More information about the winery can be found at
columbia-crest.com.