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Chalone Vineyards- An Isolated California Winery Known For Its Chardonnay and Pinot Noir

Chalone Vineyards- An isolated California winery known for its Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.

Image:Chalone Vineyards.

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Perched in the remote Gavilan Mountain Range,1,800 feet above California's Salinas Valley, this rugged vineyard sits at the base of an extinct volcano bordering the Pinnacles National Park.Chalone Vineyard is one of the few wineries in the U.S. growing grapes in limestone-based soils, the same as in Burgundy. The spare, well-drained ground, limited rainfall, and low crop levels attracted Dick Graff, who wanted to make top-flight Burgundian-style Chardonnay. Graff made his first vintage under the Chalone Vineyard label in 1966, producing what became a benchmark for California Chardonnay.


The oldest producing vineyard in Monterey County, Chalone Vineyard Estate rests on the Gavilan Mountain Range on the north slope of Chalone Peak. At 1,800,the quiet splendor of the vineyards overlooks spectacular views of the wide-open Salinas Valley,made famous by local author John Steinbeck.The vineyard’s name comes from the peak,which derives its name for the indigenous Costanoan Native American tribe,the Chalone, or Chollen.

Chalone was originally planted in 1919, but was largely abandoned until Richard Graff purchased the vineyard in 1965. Graff and Philip Woodward founded the modern version of Chalone in 1972, and the brand became known for estate Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, as well as Chenin Blanc made from the historic vines

Bill Foley-Vintner, Chalone Vineyard

Foley is chairman of Fidelity National Financial and Fidelity National Information Services, one of the nation's largest mortgage and title insurance companies. But since 1996 he's become a major player in the wine business, building an impressive portfolio on the West Coast and in New Zealand, including Chalk Hill, Firestone, Kuleto, Lincourt, Merus and Sebastiani in California, Vavasour, Clifford Bay and Martinborough Vineyard Estates in New Zealand, and Three Rivers Winery in Washington. Most recently, Foley acquired Oregon Pinot Noir specialist The Four Graces in 2014.

Image:Bill Foley/Chalone vineyard

Gianni Abate-Winemaker, Chalone Winery

Born and raised in California, Gianni Abate frequently rode his bike around the family asparagus farm in California’s Central Valley, never once imagining that he could make a career out of making wine.
Gianni was most recently the winemaker at Morgan Winery in Salinas, where he made award-winning wine for 11 vintages. Prior to that Gianni received winemaking experience at Robert Mondavi, Woodbridge, Bronco and Delicato Family. He is thrilled to be moving to the iconic Chalone Vineyard where he will continue the tradition of producing world-class wines. His hands-on approach to winemaking will be a brilliant addition to Foley Family Wines. 

Image: Gianni Abate/Chalone Winery

The oldest bonded winery in Monterey,the Chalone winery is the one and only vineyard in the Chalone appellation,a federally designated area that has climatic, geologic and geographic features that distinguish it from the land surrounding it.

Dramatic climate changes occur at Chalone Vineyard not only from season to season but hour to hour. Temperatures can swing from intensely hot during the day (90 degrees F) to considerably cooler at night (50 degrees F) over much of the growing season.Grapes need these cold nights to maintain their acidity while fully developing their flavors.

The appellation is dry, with an average rainfall of fewer than 15 inches annually, and Climatological Data Reports from the US.The Weather Bureau classifies the Chalone appellation as Region I in some years and Region IV in others. Despite such variation,we see very little difference in wine quality from year to year. We feel Chalone Vineyard’s unique character is not based on weather, but on its unique soils.

Image: Chalone Vineyard
Chalone Vineyard have won many awards for their delightful wines including the Sommeliers Choice Awards 2020.This time Double Gold medal winner with 94 is 2018 Estate Pinot Noir.


The 2018 Estate Pinot Noir reveals a symphony of aromas and flavors. Raspberry pie, sweet spice, forest floor and plum are complemented by toasted oak and graphite.
Online Order:Distributors or wine buyers can click here.Or reach out to the team on info@chalonevineyard.com.

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