Chalone Vineyard

Chalone Vineyard
Stonewell Canyon Rd & Hwy 146
Soledad, CA  93960

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Tasting Room Open Sat–Sun 11:30–5

Insider Tips

What to Buy

’12 Estate Chenin Blanc
Subtle topical fruit, fresh pineapple, gravel $26.99

’12 Grenache Rosé
Bright strawberry, watermelon $24

’10 Pinot Noir
Wild cherry, blackberry, mineral, hibiscus, sage $37.99

Special Notes

Private tastings and tours by appointment, scenic view, wine club discounts, events


Perched on the rugged north slope of Chalone Peak in the Gavilan Mountain Range, near the Pinnacles National Park, the Chalone AVA is home to the oldest producing vines in Monterey County. At an elevation of 1,800 feet, Chalone Vineyard stands alone, both in its lofty place overlooking the vast Salinas Valley and as a producer of excellent wine. Chalone Vineyard is the first and only winery in the Chalone Appellation. It is also the oldest bonded winery in Monterey County. Recently, Chalone’s 95-year-old 3.79-acre block of Chenin Blanc was awarded Historic Vineyard status by the Historic Vineyard Society, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation of California’s oldest vineyards.

Homesteader Lucius Charles Tamm planted the first vines in Chalone’s limestone soils and, to this day, the winery still bottles a limited number of cases of Chenin Blanc from the original storied block. In 1965, legendary Winemaker Dick Graff purchased the property and, despite the many challenges he faced with no electricity, no running water, and no telephone, he produced the first vintage of Chalone wine in 1966. Ten years later, at the famous 1976 Judgment of Paris, the 1974 Chalone Chardonnay finished third in a field of six California Chardonnays and four French white Burgundies.

Chalone has since become an icon, crafting exceptional wines from vineyards with such distinctive characteristics, they earned Chalone its own AVA designation. Like their vineyards, the wines truly stand alone. They continually receive high acclaim and 90-plus scores, like the 2010 Estate Pinot Noir, recently awarded 92 points by Wine Spectator.

The rugged terrain near Pinnacle National Park high in the Gavilan Mountains is a spectacular sight to behold. Happily, after being closed to the public for several years, Chalone reopened its gates, refurbished its tasting room, and now invites guests to drive up on weekends to taste through the prized portfolio and behold the splendid views.

An Interview with Senior Winemaker Robert Cook

T&T: You have the good fortune of working with the region’s oldest vineyard. Can you tell us more about it?
RC: The Chenin Blanc, planted in 1919 by Charles Lucien Tamm, was recently listed by the Historic Vineyard Society. It is the oldest vineyard in Monterey County and currently the only vineyard listed. It is a tremendous jewel that is almost four acres in size. It produces a complex, yet focused expression of Chenin Blanc.

T&T: Please tell us about your other Monterey County vineyards. What characteristics do they bring to your wines?
RC: We are an estate-grown, produced, and bottled winery, so we only source from our own property that we planted and farm. C hardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Blanc were originally planted on our property in 1946 and, as such, we have a diverse selection of older heritage vines, which typically produce smaller, more concentrated berries rich in mineral and texture. The aromatics are usually subtle, and oftentimes compared more to what you would find in European as opposed to New World wine.

T&T: What more can you tell us about your wines?
RC: The Chenin Blanc, planted in 1919, with its lovely complex nose and mineral mouth feel, is oftentimes very similar to a fine Vouvray. The Pinot Blanc, originally planted in 1946 and replanted in 1991, has historically been one of Chalone’s most sought after wines with subtle, lightly floral aromas and a lush yet gravelly texture; very ageable. Chardonnay, also planted originally in 1946, is perhaps what we’re best known for, particularly after the Judgment of Paris tasting in 1976. It’s made exclusively of older vines and shows all facets of our soils and climate, with hints of ripeness, but always with complex aromatics and structure that many compare to a fine white Burgundy. And lastly, the Pinot Noir, also originally planted in 1946, with the current oldest vines from 1972, which makes up about 25 percent of the blend yearly. Beautiful aromatics framed by Old World structure and flavors.

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Tasting Room: No

Complimentary Tastings: No

Tastings — By Appointment Only: No

Tours: No

Tours — By Appointment Only: No

Private Tours: Yes

VIP & Educational Experiences: No

Exceptional Views: No

Club Member Lounge: No

Restaurant / Deli: No

Food / Wine Pairings: No

Gift Shop: No

Wedding Facilities: No

Event Facilities: No

Corp. Meetings: No

Guest House on Premises: No

Lawn Games: No

Family Friendly: No

Pet Friendly: No

Family Owned and Operated: No

Wine Cave: No

Art/Architectural Interest: No

Sustainable Practices: No