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Ste. Michelle Toasts New Rail-Shipping Facility As 14 Hands Surges

April 26, 2013

Washington-based Ste. Michelle Wine Estates’ plan to ship as much as half of its wine by rail is speeding ahead. Its partner in the initiative, Railex Wine Services, yesterday opened a new $20 million warehouse and distribution center in Wallula.

The new Railex facility is already storing about 2.2 million cases of Ste. Michelle wine at 55 degrees. Of the 8 million cases Ste. Michelle expects to ship this year, three-quarters will be handled by Railex, which also provides trucking services. While Ste. Michelle is Railex’s main client, the group plans to open its rail-shipping unit to other northwest winemakers.

Ste. Michelle yesterday also toasted 12% revenue growth to $126 million in first quarter 2013, with volume rising 9.5% to 1.69 million cases. The Chateau Ste. Michelle brand was flat at 530,000 cases for the period, but Columbia Crest rose 13% to 385,000 cases. 14 Hands, an Impact “Hot Brand,” leapt 47% to 317,000 cases.

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