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Located on a benchland of the Gavilan Mountains in the shadow of the Pinnacles National Monument, the place we know today as Chalone Vineyard began its journey on the wine frontier more than 100 years ago. A Frenchman, Charles Tamm, planted the first grapevines on the isolated property. The journey that continued over the next 60 years was as wild as the...
Located on a benchland of the Gavilan Mountains in the shadow of the Pinnacles National Monument, the place we know today as Chalone Vineyard began its journey on the wine frontier more than 100 years ago. A Frenchman, Charles Tamm, planted the first grapevines on the isolated property. The journey that continued over the next 60 years was as wild as the Gavilan benchland itself the property changed hands many times, partnerships came and went, sometimes peacefully, other times in a heated moment. Technology didnt exist on the benchland electricity (without a generator) wouldnt exist until the mid 1980s. Life at Chalone truly was a life on the frontier. In the 1960s, Richard Graff, just out of the Navy, and looking for a career fell in love with Chalone. He set his mind to it, and eventually he and his family were able to purchase it. Then in 1972, Philip Woodward, a young accountant, signed on to help run the business while Graff made the wines. It was the beginning of a beautiful partnership, and the foundation of the company that has evolved out of this incredible property and these two incredible people: the Chalone Wine Group. Today, the Chalone Wine Group is made up of eight wineries in locations from eastern Washington state to the south central coast of California. It was the first premium winery to go public more than a decade before it became fashionable to do so. The company has forged a strong relationship with its French partner, Domaines de Barons Rothschild (Lafite). Its poised and ready to enter a new century and a new millennium with much potential yet unexplored. Chalone: A Journey on the Wine Frontier is at once the history of a place and all of the interesting people who took up residence there over the years as well as the personal journey and recollections of Philip Woodward, the co-founder of the modern Chalone Vineyard and the chairman of the Chalone Wine Group. It is a story with good times and bad, triumph and tragedy, and an ending that has yet to be written.
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