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Wine & Spirits

Chateau Woltner ( Woltner Estates )
Mount Howell, Saint Helena
Woltner Estates Winery 150 White Cottage Rd. South
Angwin, CA 94508-9611
Office 707-963-1744

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This is high up a mountain and off the beaten track, but great climate for grapes, and people with money have discovered this area to build homes and small vineyards. The office is located in a wooden garage on the second floor of the building off the Silverado Trail, 3500, but the winery is actually the 13th bonded in California, at the top of Deer Park Road, way on the top, and only open by appointment. Other wineries in Angwin, according to the Mount Howell Association are:Cornerstone Cellars, Deer Park Winery, Duckhorn Vineyards, Dunn Vineyards, Elyse Wine Cellars, Howell Mountain Vineyards, La Jota Vineyard, Lamborn Family Vineyard, Liparita Cellars, Rocking Horse Winery, St. Clement Vineyards, Summit Lake Vineyard , Viader Vineyard and White Cottage Ranch. This is a "Ghost Winery," one of the originals and prohibition closed many of these stone structures down ( the bottom floor is built into the side of the mountain where wine is stored and kept cool all year long ). This is a very large estate. New vines have been planted among older vines.

There are four Chardonnay's produced at Chateau Woltner with Titus being the smallest production, 200 cases, named for the late family dog that kept the deer off the property. I have never seen the wine for sale, except at some restaurants. It is French style. Located in Napa Valley, with the first harvest in 1985, the ancient cellar originally called 'Nouveau Medic' has been restored after 100 years. This magnificent property of 181 acres (72 ha.) lies on Howell Mountain between 1600 and 1800 feet in altitude. It benefits from unique microclimates which vary according to the exposure and soils of each vineyard. Heat waves are unknown as cool afternoon breezes blow in from San Francisco Bay.

The vineyard was originally established by French vignerons Brun and Chaix in 1877. In 1886 they completed the construction of the three story cellar - reproduced on the label - with 30" thick walls. The lower level is buried two floors underground on the east and west sides. Hence the natural cellar temperature is a constant 60 degrees F. The wines produced here by Brun and Chaix had considerable reputation. Unfortunately the property was forced to close at Prohibition.

After Prohibition American demand for great wines was virtually non-existent and mountain vineyards could not be re-established given the high cost of farming and small yields produced compared to the valley floor. It is only with the recent success for great wines in the USA that a renaissance could be considered.

Francis and Francies DeWavrin-Woltner bought this superb property in late 1980. Following the 1983 sale of their Bordeaux estate, Ch. La Mission Haut Brion, they have dedicated themselves to creating a California estate of equal caliber. To date, 55 acres (22 ha.) of Chardonnay have been planted and the old cellars restored to their former splendor. This is the first phase of a 25 year project. The vineyards will eventually cover 100 acres (40 ha.)

The 1985 and 1987 wines were produced from 35 acres (14 ha.) planted in 1982 and 1983. Since 1988 production has been from 56 acres (22 ha.). The additional 20 acres were planted in 1985.



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