Napa Valley’s first vines were planted by a South Carolina man named George Yount in the early 1800’s. As more settlers relocated west, the number of vineyards in the valley steadily increased. By the late 1800’s, annual wine and brandy production reached 1.5 million gallons. The subsequent years saw a decline in planted vineyards due to the combination of the devastating Phylloxera epidemic and the country’s movement towards Prohibition.
Nevertheless, at least three vintners stayed in operation by making medicinal and sacramental wines. Several decades later, the Napa Valley garnered international attention due to its success at a blind tasting staged in Paris, France in 1976.
French wine masters chose a Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay as the best of class over several revered French wines. The grand success of Napa Valley wines in the “Judgment of Paris” led to an explosion in vineyards and wineries in the area. Accordingly, Napa Valley has become recognized worldwide as a premier destination for millions of wine aficionados each year.
1969: Thomas Cotrell and Thomas Parkhill, both Silicon Valley engineers, founded the Calistoga location.
1974: New York publisher Oakleigh Thorne purchased the winery.
1979: The Schmidheiny family of Switzerland purchased the winery.
2015: Brandon Chaney and Anthony Zabit, both SF entrepreneurs, purchased the winery.
Our historic Calistoga winery is situated on the Silverado Trail in the northern Napa Valley. In 1969, Thomas Cotrell and Thomas Parkhill, both Silicon Valley engineers, founded the Calistoga location. New York publisher Oakleigh Thorne subsequently purchased the winery in 1974 and appointed the Swiss- born Philip Togni as Winemaker. In 1979, the Schmidheiny family of Switzerland purchased the winery and operated it as Cuvaison for 36 years until April 2015 when Brandon Chaney and Anthony Zabit, both San Francisco entrepreneurs, purchased the property and introduced Fairwinds Estate Winery to Napa Valley.
Our winery produces fine wines in spirit of the history of Napa Valley with elegant Cabernets and well-balanced Chardonnays in honor of the “Judgment of Paris” back in 1976 which spawned the growth in the Napa Valley.
Tasting is available on property weekly and please call us to learn more about special events on our grounds and expansive wine caves.
Brandon grew up in West Lafayette, Indiana. His father was a professor at Purdue University in the Forestry Department and his mother, an artist, ran the overseas study programs for the continuing education department of the university. Brandon attended Indiana University and landed his first job with General Electric Nuclear Energy. From 1996 to 2011, Brandon was CEO and Co-Founder of a public utility company in the State of California. His dream has been to own and run a winery since visiting Europe back in college. This dream came true in April 2015 when he bought Fairwinds Estate Winery with his college roommate and life-long friend, Anthony Zabit. Brandon lives in Incline Village, Nevada with his three children (Taylor, Cole and Dylan) and can be often found working the tasting room.
"People say live life to the fullest …. I say live life with no regrets with a big smile and surround yourself with family, friends and lots of wine!"
Todd’s passion in fine winemaking began over 15 years ago. His deep exposure and wealth of experiences in old world wine practices include travels to wineries in France, Italy, Portugal, Austria, Croatia, and Hungry. Todd’s other passion is journalism, and was an accomplished editor for several notable wine publications.
"Making fine wine is my passion. I feel blessed to do what I love and work with such an amazing team."
Von Radke, Bottling Manager
Troy Harbison, Cellar Master
Kevin Wood, Enologist
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