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Jason Schlagel presents the Eric Hanson Memorial Grower of the Year Award to Mimi Nye during the Washington Association of Wine Grape Grower meeting in Kennewick, Washington on February 10, 2016. <b>(TJ Mullinax/Good Fruit Grower)</b>

Mimi Nye received the Eric Hanson Memorial Grower of the Year Award during the 2016 Washington Association of Wine Grape Grower meeting in Kennewick, Washington. (TJ Mullinax/Good Fruit Grower)

Mimi Nye, who has been the sole manager for Chateau Ste. Michelle’s Canoe Ridge Estate Vineyard since the vineyard’s inception in 1991, will retire April 9.

For 35 years, Nye led a team of dedicated employees in the planting and development of nearly 600 acres and grew Canoe Ridge Estate Vineyard into a vineyard known throughout the state for producing premium wines.

“Mimi’s contributions are incalculable,” Mike Means, Ste. Michelle Wine Estates director of vineyard operations, said in a statement today. “She has poured her heart and energy into the development and nurturing of this now iconic Washington state vineyard and the results of those efforts are captured in the bottle of each and every vintage. She often refers to the vines as her babies and she has spent the last 25 years raising those vines to produce exceptional grapes.”

Nye helped secure third-part LIVE and Salmon Safe certification for the vineyard in 2009. During her tenure, three wines for the vineyard made Wine Spectator’s prestigious “Top 100 Wines of the World” list: 2006 Canoe Ridge Estate Cabernet, 2004 Canoe Ridge Estate Chardonnay and 1999 Canoe Ridge Estate Merlot.

“I will miss the Ste. Michelle family, because we truly are a family.” Nye said. “I hope to find things to do that are as fulfilling as growing grapes for great wine. It will be a new chapter in my life and I can’t wait to find new things to learn and enjoy.”

Viticulturist Kari Smasne has been promoted to vineyard manager at Canoe Ridge Estate, and production supervisor Pedro Flores has been promoted to assistant vineyard manager.

Smasne began her career with Ste. Michelle as an intern in 2004, working her way up through viticulture positions. Most recently, she has supported the winery’s Cold Creek and Col Solare vineyards. Flores began working with Ste. Michelle in 1987, helping to develop various vineyard sites, including Canoe Ridge Estate. He became a team member at Canoe Ridge Estate under Nye in 1991.