Chateau Ste. Michelle Grenache

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Chateau Ste. Michelle Grenache




Grape Variety/Varieties: Petite Sirah | Bottle Price: $12.00 [2018 Adjusted Price: $30.97]


Growing Region: Washington State


American Festival Café, 1984,


Chateau Ste. Michelle Grenache

        ‘Chateau Ste. Michelle Grenache’ is a wine classified as rosé wine-type. Before introducing the winemaker, ‘Chateau Ste. Michelle’, and its growing region, it would help to explore its classification of rosé and the grape variety required in its production.

Generally, rosé wines are defined by their shade of pink. Though diverse in color, are opposite in production method. The major method used to produce a coloration between the popular red and white wines is through maceration. Put simply, maceration is soaking “crushed grapes” to then extract an amount of color; amount depending on the process’ timing and sequence [1]. Comparatively, “Where some red wines ferment for weeks at a time on red grape skins, rosé wines are stained red for just a few hours” [2] . Ultimately, the fine variation of color and flavor depends on the customization of the winemaker. However, The Oxford Companion to Wine states “The red-skinned Grenache grape, [is] traditionally ...used for rosés...” because of its short maceration time of 8-12 hours[3]. In perspective, the amount of allowable coloration a rose wine-type requires is enough to create a pink shade but short of qualifying as red wine. That said, “Global production of rosé wines in 2011 was 24.1 million hl/637 million gal, up from 22.2 million hl in 2002” [4]. Although highly receptive today, much of its growth has been recent as the maceration process has improved and warmer temperatures have become feasible.

        Grenache, known as Garnacha, is a grape type described as a resilient and an adaptive alternative to cold, moist climates. Garnacha Tinta, for example, is one of the world’s most planted grapes because, “it can thrive in hot, dry climates”,[5]. The Garnacha strain is commonly used in wine blends, which is why its name is not widely known. However, Grenache Noir is France’s second most planted variety with a total of 232,872 acres in 2009 [6]. Regarding ‘Chateau Ste. Michelle’, the winemaker uses a blend of 100% Grenache grape. The owner, Mackey, describes it : “I created this pleasantly vibrant wine to capture some of my favorite shades of its complex identity with a blend of resonate citrus, decadent cherry pie, and earthy spices” [7]. Altogether, the fact sheet describes the product as having a ph of 3.95 and a 14.8% alcohol content.

In Washington State, Grenache, “one of the first varieties to be planted in the state…[grew to] 162 acres by 2011” [8]. ‘The Chateau Ste. Michelle’ winemaker’s growing region is in Columbia Valley, WA, USA [9]. Generally, the Columbia Valley growing region lives in a semi-arid climate with hot summers and cold winters. Although it’s a fairly dry place, it benefits from the irrigation that nearby rivers offer [10]. Overall, considering the properties of the Grenache grape, Central Washington is very well-suited to produce this grape variety. It is said to have favorable growing conditions due to the ripening of the grape working well with the region’s seasonal cycle. “Warm, sunny days and cool evenings create ideal conditions for aroma and flavor development in the ripening grapes” [11].

The vintner, Chateau Ste. Michelle was established in 1912 is “Celebrating more than 50 years of winemaking”, operating from two state-of-the-art wineries; making white wine in “Chateau in Woodinville, WA”, and red wine in “Canoe Ridge Estate winery” [12].

[3] Robinson, Jancis. The Oxford Companion to Wine. Oxford University Press, 1994. (pg.628)

[4] * Robinson (pg.629)

[5] Robinson, Jancis, et al. Wine Grapes: a Complete Guide to 1,368 Vine Varieties, Including Their Origins and Flavours. Allen Lane, 2012.

[6] * Robinson (pg. 398)

[8] * Robinson (pg. 400)

[9] (Controlled Vocab)




Growing Region: Washington State, “Chateau Ste. Michelle Grenache,” Intro to Digital Humanities Fall 2018, accessed July 25, 2021,

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