Washington’s Columbia Crest Winery remodels Grand Estates tier

By on March 14, 2013
Juan Muñoz Oca is the head winemaker for Columbia Crest in Paterson, Wash. (Courtesy of Columbia Crest)

Juan Muñoz Oca is the head winemaker for Columbia Crest in Paterson, Wash. (Courtesy of Columbia Crest)

Columbia Crest Grand Estates CabPATERSON, Wash. — Columbia Crest Winery, the Pacific Northwest’s largest winery, has unveiled a new look for its value-priced Grand Estates program.

The first wines to feature the new look will hit the market this month as the Paterson, Wash., winery in the Horse Heaven Hills celebrates its 30th anniversary this year.

“The goal of the new package is to appeal to new consumers while maintaining our current fan base,” Cary Kloster, senior marketing manager for Columbia Crest, said in a news release. “The new look incorporates design elements to improve shelf presence, which will lead to greater consumer awareness and trial.”

Columbia Crest Grand Estates ChardonnayThe Grand Estates portfolio includes Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, the Armitage red blend, Syrah, Chardonnay and Pinot Gris. This summer, the winery will introduce an unoaked Chardonnay. All wines are available nationally and retail for $12.

Columbia Crest research indicated the former label failed to connect with new shoppers, so its marketing team wanted to transition the  design to “modern classic,” Kloster said. Red wines feature a platinum foil capsule. The white wines capsule is described as sterling.

In 2007, Columbia Crest entered a partnership with Bobby Flay, the renowned chef and Food Network star who helped promote and market the Grand Estates brand.

Head winemaker Juan Muñoz-Oca and his team are responsible for more 2 million cases and four tiers at Columbia Crest.

While most the production falls into the “Best Buy” category, Columbia Crest also set a milestone for quality. In 2009, the Columbia Crest 2005 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon was named the No. 1 Wine in the World by Wine Spectator magazine. It was the first time a Washington state wine has received the ranking.

About Eric Degerman

Eric Degerman is the President and CEO of Great Northwest Wine. He is a journalist with more than 30 years of daily newspaper experience and has been writing about wine since 1998. He co-founded Wine Press Northwest magazine with Andy Perdue and served as its managing editor for a decade. He is a frequent wine judge at international wine competitions throughout North America and orchestrates 10 Northwest competitions each year.


  1. Ed Allen says:

    I have been buying this brand for years. Approx. 6 to 8 bottles a week. The idea that the new labeling will “appeal to new consumers while maintaining our current fan base” is crazy. It’s just the kind of thing marketing and advertising people do to justify their jobs within corporations. I for one do not like the change “just for the sake of change”. I have purchased 5 or 6 bottles already from Safeway and Basha’s in Gilbert, AZ. I actually get the feeling that the wine has changed and am now trying a few other brands trying to search out a new one that suits my taste. Just a ridiculous change for no common sense reason.

  2. Margaret says:

    Hunting around town for my favorite Columbia Crest Merlot and realize you changed the label and it’s awful, looks like cheap bottled wine labels and maybe it’s just me but doesn’t even taste the same. I have been buying this for many years now as our nightly dinner wine and sorry to say I know have to try looking for another Merlot. Always loved your local winery and wines but this was a bad move, I couldn’t even see your bottles without really hunting through all the other labels!

    • Andy Perdue says:

      Margaret, did you mean to direct this to the folks at Columbia Crest? I’d suggest you head to their website and contact them directly, as they likely won’t find your comment here on our site and a months-old story.


      Andy Perdue
      Great Northwest Wine

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