Ch. Montelena

Napa, California, USA

Chateau Montelena Napa Valley, California, USA In January 1882, Alfred L. Tubbs purchased the 254 acre vineyard parcel twp miles north of Calistoga at the base of Mount St. Helena. He had heard that Napa Valley was a good place to grow grapes in California and found the soils in this parcel to be loose, well-drained and stony - just perfect for the vines he would plant. Tubbs planted his vineyards, built his Chateau and in 1886, he brought in a French wine maker to consult. He named his winery Chateau Montelena, an abbreviation of Mount St. Helena. By 1896, it was a part of the active viticultural landscape in California, which abruptly came to a halt with Prohibition. At Prohibition’s repeal, the Tubbs family continued to harvest in the vineyard, making wines and selling grapes to other local wineries. The winery and its overgrown grounds were eventually sold to Yort and Jeanie Frank in 1958. The couple was looking for a peaceful spot to retire. They made many improvements to the land, including an excavated lake and Chinese gardens. The sanctuary and wildlife make the Chateau one of the most beautiful wineries to visit in Napa. The Chateau came back to life with under the proprietorship of Jim Barrett. He cleared and replanted the vineyard and outfitted the winery with modern equipment. With his team of experienced growers and oenologists in the cellar, he put the Chateau back on the map. 1972 was the first vintage in this renaissance and the family-owned winery continues to thrive. Everyone knows the notoriety gained my the Chateau in the famous 1976 tasting in Paris, in which California Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon triumphed over a some of Frances most recognized wines and appellations. This contest was eye-opening to critics on both sides of the Atlantic and helped winemaking in California attain international recognition.

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