Chalone Wine Country
There are only a handful of Chalone wineries and vineyards. In 1972, Richard Graff and Phil Woodward established Chalone Wine Group in the region. This is one of the great success stories in the state’s wine industry. Richard Graff’s winemaking and Phil Woodward’s business acumen have had a lasting impact on Pinot Noir and Chardonnay production in the Golden State.
One of the major reasons that Pinot Noir and Chardonnay vineyards do so well here is the fact that Chalone’s climate. closely resembles the Burgundy region in France which is the home of these two grapes. Chalone Vineyards are grown on sunny mountain slopes that are cooled by breezes from Monterey Bay and the Pacific Ocean. Located in the eastern hills of Salinas Valley, Chalone Wine Country is one of the windiest places in all of Monterey County.
The critical and commercial success of Chalone Wineries is not just due to climate; terrain plays an important role as well. Made primarily of limestone and decomposed granite, Chalone’s hillside soils are remarkably similar to the Cote d’Or in Burgundy. Resulting wines have noticeable minerality on the nose and palate. This is one of the distinguishing characteristics of Chalone Wine Country.
Chalone’s history of wine production is a story of dedication and tenacity. In 1919, a French immigrant named Charles Tamm began planting vineyards on the isolated hillsides. He used a horse and cart to transport water to his property for irrigation. Chardonnay and Pinot Noir connoisseurs should be very thankful for Tamm’s early sacrifices. In 1982, the Federal Government granted the Chalone wine region official AVA status.
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