At Ste. Michelle Wine Estates, a thriving community is integral to how we do business, and has been for over 40 years. We make decisions that promote the long-term health of our people, the environment and our businesses. Above all, we promote a culture of balance and moderation, and collaborate within the industry to create more sustainable practices. As industry leaders, we’re always trying to be better. It’s our responsibility to act in a way that inspires trust and confidence in our company and our products.

Charitable Contributions Program

The strength of our community is vital to the health and well-being of our entire business. For over 40 years, Ste. Michelle Wine Estates has proudly supported the communities where we live and work.

As a founder of the Washington wine industry, and a leader in the Oregon and California wine regions, we take this responsibility very seriously, championing programs that support the local economy, grow the industry and protect the land we farm.

Ste. Michelle's Charitable Contributions Program annually supports a wide range of non-profit organizations and charity events, with a special emphasis on the following:

  • Viticulture & Enological Education
  • Arts & Culture
  • Community Service
  • Environment & Sustainability
  • Diversity
  • Hospitality & Industry Education

Contribution Highlights

Auction of Washington Wines
We believe in the power of giving back. Chateau Ste. Michelle is proud to host the annual Auction of Washington Wines, benefitting Seattle Children's Hospital Foundation and the Viticulture & Enology Program at Washington State University. Founded in 1988, the event has become one of the most celebrated wine auctions in the country.

Viticulture & Enology Program at Washington State University (WSU)
We believe knowledge sharing and collaboration fuels innovation. Continued support of Washington State University’s Viticulture and Enology program assists in growing its research, teaching and extension functions—a partnership that not only accelerates economic development in the state, but also strengthens growth throughout the entire Washington wine industry.

SMWE has been a notable advocate for the fundraising and construction of the Wine Science Center, located at WSU’s Tri-Cities campus, the heart of the Washington wine industry. As all great wine regions – from Burgundy to Bordeaux to Tuscany – succeed with a strong research university, so too will Washington advance with a premier research institution dedicated to the unique growing conditions within the state.

Chateau Ste. Michelle Scholarship Fund
We believe the future is bright. Since 2002, Chateau Ste. Michelle has awarded more than 100 scholarships to support high-achieving, underrepresented minority college students throughout Washington, totaling over $3 million since its inception. Students in the program, administered by the College Success Foundation, have an 85-90 percent graduation rate.

Charitable Contribution Requests
Organizations requesting a charitable contribution must be classified by the Internal Revenue Service as eligible to receive a tax deductible contribution and be a 501 (c) (3) organization. Fill out the online application a minimum of eight weeks prior to the event. Requests submitted with less notice may be denied without review. If your request is approved by the Contributions Committee you will be notified via email.

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Marketing Responsibility

At Ste. Michelle Wine Estates, we promote and strongly believe in a culture of balance and moderation. As wine industry leaders, we are deeply committed to educating about safe and responsible drinking. We’re also focused on promoting our products in an appropriate light.

The definition of moderation is unique to every individual. Legal-age consumers should consider the USDA-HHS 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans or even talk with a personal physician.

We communicate with legal-age consumers in several ways:

  • Direct-to-consumer newsletters and e-mails
  • Digital marketing vehicles including branded websites and branded social platforms
  • Point-of-sale materials in retail and restaurant outlets
  • Print and digital advertising
  • Winery and tasting room locations
  • Hosted and third-party events

We design consumer communications to connect with adults of legal drinking age. As a member of the Wine Institute, we subscribe to the Institute’s Code of Advertising Standards, the highest industry benchmark for advertising depicting responsible consumption of wine.

The code includes restrictions against advertising that:

  • Depicts consumption with operating any motor vehicle;
  • Is in media with a substantial underage audience;
  • Suggests that wine consumption directly contributes to success or achievement;
  • Has particular appeal to individuals below the legal drinking age;
  • Is degrading or exploitative;
  • Is directed at pregnant women; and
  • Is associated with violence or abusive relationships.

In 2013, Ste. Michelle also adopted the Wine Institute’s Digital Marketing Guidelines governing the promotion of wine in digital media. Here are the basic principles:

Digital marketing communications…

  • Are intended for adults of legal purchase age
  • Should not be placed in media with a substantial underage audience
  • On a site or web page controlled by the brand advertiser that involve direct interaction with a user should require age affirmation by the user prior to full user engagement of that communication to determine that the user is of legal purchase age.
  • That are intended to be forwarded by users should include instructions to individuals downloading the content that they should not forward these materials to individuals below the legal purchase age.
  • On sites controlled by the brand advertiser must respect user privacy.
  • And product promotions must be transparent as brand marketing by being identified as such.
  • User-generated content on a site or web page controlled by the brand advertiser should be monitored on a regular basis.

Age Verification
We believe our products should be enjoyed responsibly by adults of legal drinking age. Each facet of our direct-to-consumer business, whether in our tasting rooms, direct shipments or online, follow an established age-verification protocol.

Responsibility begins with education. At Ste. Michelle Wine Estates, we educate our employees about how to responsibly promote our products. We give all employees, from shipping to cellar staff, the necessary tools to be responsible members of our industry. We train our sales force how to comply with state and local standards and obligations governing the industry. We train all employees how to properly serve and present our wines to adult consumers at events and tasting.

Ste. Michelle works collaboratively with other leading industry groups who are committed to the responsible promotion and sale of wine to adults. They include the Washington State Wine Commission, the Washington Wine Institute and Wine America.

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As longtime stewards of the land, we’re committed to nurturing the land we farm. We help protect the ecosystems that sustain our businesses. Not only does this help us produce the best quality wine possible, it’s the right thing to do for our company and our community.

Over 40 years of innovation includes research dedicated to water and pest management, planting systems, mechanization, trellising and training systems, cover crops, pruning and cold hardiness. The research trials have taken place on our own or our growers’ estates and, often, in cooperation with Washington State University.

Learn more about Sustainability.

Conservation in Our Wineries
Our technical leadership in finding sustainable solutions to all facets of the winemaking process is a vital component of our success, and a crucial responsibility to our community. We understand that the environmental impact of our business extends beyond our facilities, and continually work to close the loop on our product lifecycle, from composting and waste water management to post consumer disposal of our products.

Learn more about our Winery Conservation efforts.
Water & Biodiversity
Recycling & Packaging

Sustainability in Our Vineyards
When the primary source of your business originates from the natural world, it is imperative to maintain that source in the most sustainable way possible. Whether through sharing best practices with our network of growers or providing research grants in conjunction with Washington State University, sustainable farming enhances our business and the reputation and longevity the of Washington State wine industry.

We are committed to developing, practicing and sharing sustainable viticulture across the company’s 11 wineries, which harvest grapes from more than 3,700 company-owned acres in Washington, California and Oregon.

Learn more about Sustainability in our Vineyards:
Pest Management
Soil & Plant Management
Water Conservation
Protecting biodiversity

Community and Industry Leadership
In addition to working to reduce our environmental impact in our wineries and vineyards, Ste. Michelle Wine Estates uses its leadership role in the wine industry and local communities to expand awareness and environmental education through a variety of practices.

Learn more about our Community and Industry Leadership efforts:
Grower Sustainability Self-Assessment Tool: Vinewise/Winerwise

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