WOODINVILLE, Wash. – The Northwest’s largest sparkling wine house is getting a makeover.
More than 35 years after it started, Domaine Ste. Michelle is being rebranded as Michelle. The announcement was made this morning by parent company Ste. Michelle Wine Estates.
Michelle sparkling wines are made by Rick Casqueiro, who produces more than 300,000 cases of bubbly annually in the methode champenoise style – meaning the secondary fermentation that gives the wine its bubbles takes place in the bottle.
Along with the refreshed label, Ste. Michelle Wine Estates also appears to be streamlining the winery’s offerings to four wines: Brut, Brut Rosé, Extra Dry and Luxe. The latter is a vintage-dated sparkling wine that retains the name Domaine Ste. Michelle.
Blanc de Blanc gone from Domaine Ste. Michelle/Michelle lineup
Gone from the lineup is the Blanc de Blanc, a Chardonnay-based white wine that landed between the Brut and Extra Dry in sweetness and style. This is not the first time the Michelle offerings have been winnowed. A few years ago, Casqueiro’s lineup included “Frizzante,” an off-dry offering, but it was dropped in 2009.
The Brut, Brut Rosé and Extra Dry retail for $14.
Casqueiro earned chemistry and winemaking degrees in California and worked in the California sparkling wine industry for Weibel and other wineries before moving to Washington. He has been the head winemaker at Michelle since 1996.
The wines are made at Columbia Crest in Paterson. Casqueiro uses Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier from the Horse Heaven Hills, Yakima Valley and greater Columbia Valley for his sparkling wines. They are the three grapes traditionally used in Champagne, the region of France most famous for its sparkling wines.
“We’ve built a loyal following of fans for our exceptional quality and value,” said Brenda Castañeda, marketing manager for Michelle. “While we’ve made significant changes to the packaging, the wine remains true to the style and tradition of Domaine Ste. Michelle.”