The vineyard at Canoe Ridge Estate is home to 559 acres dedicated to producing elegant, refined wines with concentration and structure. 12 million years ago, a powerful river of lava carved what is today known as Canoe Ridge or alternately a bit of "Europe on the Columbia". The ancient lava followed the Columbia River and left huge layers of basalt behind. Deep, free-draining soils sit on top of the basalt, deposited by great floods from the last Ice Age 13,000 years ago. Young vines in search of water and nutrients easily establish deep root systems here. Canoe Ridge Estate's windswept site in the Horse Heaven Hill's AVA provides Chateau Ste. Michelle with low-fertility soil, constant sun and steady winds coming up from the Columbia River- the perfect model for premium growing conditions. In 1991, we planted our vineyard at Canoe Ridge Estate on the south face of the ridge that rises 950 feet above sea level. The vineyard's steep slope and proximity to the river combine to alleviate frost pockets and seasonal temperature extremes. Because winters are milder than other parts of the valley, spring bud break is earlier. In the summer, the river moderates temperatures again, giving us an extended growing season and adding character to the grapes.