My Dinner with François

I FIRST MET FRANÇOIS IN 2013, ON A FOGGY MORNING IN OCCIDENTAL, A SMALL TOWN ALONG NORTHERN CALIFORNIA’S COASTLINE (POPULATION, 1,115).

We sat at a table under some trees across from the Union Hotel. I’d heard from a mutual friend that François was looking for a partner with whom he could collaborate on a new winery and vineyard project unlike any other. Rumor had it he was uncompromising in his approach to farming and winemaking, and that intrigued me greatly.

My wife Kaela, with our two youngest in tow, meandered about the nearby shops while François and I sized each other up.

As we talked, we learned that we had a number of important things in common. First and foremost, we shared a reverence for incredible sites and soil. We both trained for years, primarily abroad, trying to learn as much as we could about farming and winemaking. We’d each identified these pursuits as lifelong vocations; François in his 30’s, me in my teens. We both believe that an incredible vineyard site, properly and obsessively nurtured, can bestow a wine capable of catapulting an ordinary moment into something transcendent, energetic, and ultimately, spiritual.

As we chatted, François noticed that I made a gesture toward a woman and two kids walking on the sidewalk. Once he discovered it was my family he invited all of us to go and see the two Occidental properties, one on Taylor Lane and the other on Coleman Valley Road. Seeing these sites planted a seed; and the roots were beginning to bind.

We met a few more times because we were both compelled to keep exploring this potentially profound partnership. In February 2014, we met over dinner in cosmopolitan downtown Graton (population 1,107), during which we journeyed through several bottles of wine (Manzanilla, Matrot, Lopez de Heredia, and Rayas). It was during this meal that we sealed our partnership with a handshake and Chamboulé was born.

now the
work begins…

5B
x
5A
x
4
x
3
x
2
x
1B
x
1A
x

Block 1A

Acres: 0.82

Variety: Pinot Noir

Clone: Proprietary

Rootstock: 420A

Spacing: 4' X 3'

Block 1B

Acres: 0.47

Variety: Pinot Noir

Clone: Proprietary

Rootstock: 420A

Spacing: 4' X 3'

Block 2

Acres: 1.20

Variety: Chardonnay

Clone: Proprietary

Rootstock: 420A

Spacing: 4' X 3'

Block 3

Acres: 1.19

Variety: Pinot Noir

Clone: Proprietary

Rootstock: 420A

Spacing: 4' X 3'

Block 4

Acres: 0.93

Variety: Pinot Noir

Clone: Proprietary

Rootstock: 420A

Spacing: 4' X 3'

Block 5A

Acres: 0.72

Variety: Pinot Noir

Clone: Proprietary

Rootstock: 420A

Spacing: 4' X 3'

Block 5B

Acres: 0.62

Variety: Chardonnay

Clone: Proprietary

Rootstock: 420A

Spacing: 4' X 3'

A1
x
A2
x
A3
x
A4
x
A5
x
A6
x
A7
x

Block A1

Acres: 0.98

Variety: TBD

Clone: TBD

Rootstock: 420A

Spacing: 4' X 3'

Block A2

Acres: 0.97

Variety: TBD

Clone: TBD

Rootstock: 420A

Spacing: 4' X 3'

Block A3

Acres: 0.97

Variety: TBD

Clone: TBD

Rootstock: 420A

Spacing: 4' X 3'

Block A4

Acres: 0.71

Variety: TBD

Clone: TBD

Rootstock: 420A

Spacing: 4' X 3'

Block A5

Acres: 0.98

Variety: TBD

Clone: TBD

Rootstock: 420A

Spacing: 4' X 3'

Block A6

Acres: 0.97

Variety: TBD

Clone: TBD

Rootstock: 420A

Spacing: 4' X 3'

Block A7

Acres: 0.83

Variety: TBD

Clone: TBD

Rootstock: 420A

Spacing: 4' X 3'

MV1
x
MV2
x
MV3
x

Block MV1

Acres: 0.156

Variety: CF

Clone: Heritage

Rootstock: St. George

Spacing: 8' X 4'

Block MV2

Acres: 0.506

Variety: CS

Clone: Heritage

Rootstock: St. George

Spacing: 8' X 4'

Block MV3

Acres: 0.078

Variety: TBD

Clone: TBD

Rootstock: St. George

Spacing: 8' X 4'