CHANDON is a global community of winemakers, rooted in a domain on which the sun never sets.
They have been crafting exceptional sparkling wines since our founding in 1959 in Mendoza, Argentina. In 60 years of excellence, the pioneering spirit that’s embedded in their DNA has taken them all over the globe to California, Brazil, Australia, China, and India.
CHANDON is now made up of six personalities under one identity, all making outstanding quality wines, united by their shared personality and values. The mission has always been to open a world of possibilities in sparkling wine. It is as relevant today as it was six decades ago.
In the late 1950s, Robert-Jean de Vogüé, a maverick and non-conformist, had the vision, courage, and stamina to redefine luxury sparkling wine. He was convinced that the road less traveled led to an exciting future for quality sparkling wine, so he set off on an epic journey to find unexpected new lands in Argentina. What he found there, in Mendoza–a high-altitude semi-desert in the Andean foothills – was the perfect terroir for pure, expressive, fruit-driven world-class fizz.
He decided his hunch – export the savoir-faire, not the bottles – was right.
And so, it began in 1959, when Maison CHANDON was founded on the tradition of innovation.
CHANDON Argentina, born of Robert-Jean de Vogüé’s original vision, broke ground in 1959 in Mendoza in the Andean foothills. From there, a world of unique sparkling wines opened up.
Napa, California was the next territory to beckon, after Robert-Jean became convinced of the potential of this region for quality sparkling. The idea was considered revolutionary both in France and in America. The United States had always been a minor market for wines and US demand for California sparkling wines even smaller.
CHANDON California was founded in 1973, betting the emergence of a sparkling-wine maker, and began producing under the direction of Dawnine Dyer in terroirs identified by John Wright.
That same year, 1973, Brazil’s Serra Gaúcha was pinpointed. Then in 1986, Yarra Vally was found for CHANDON Australia, and legendary winemaker Tony Jordan was tasked with producing there. CHANDON China arrived on the scene in 2013, in Ningxia, China, the country’s top premium winemaking region. The most recent member of the family is CHANDON India, founded in 2014, in Nashik, Maharashtra.
One of the world's most highly regarded regions for wine production as well as tourism, the Napa Valley was responsible for bringing worldwide recognition to California winemaking. In the 1960s, a few key wine families settled the area and hedged their bets on the valley's world-class winemaking potential—and they were right.
The Napa wine industry really took off in the 1980s, when producers scooped up vineyard lands and planted vines throughout the county. A number of wineries emerged, and today Napa is home to hundreds of producers ranging from boutique to corporate. Cabernet Sauvignon is definitely the grape of choice here, with many winemakers also focusing on Bordeaux blends. White wines from Napa Valley are usually Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.
Within the Napa Valley lie many smaller sub-AVAs that claim specific wine characteristics based on situation, slope and soil. Farthest south and coolest from the influence of the San Pablo Bay is Carneros, followed by Coombsville to its northeast and then Yountville, Oakville and Rutherford. Above those are the warm St. Helena and the valley's newest and hottest AVA, Calistoga. These areas follow the valley floor and are known generally for creating rich, dense, complex and smooth red wines with good aging potential. The mountain sub appellations, nestled on the slopes overlooking the valley AVAs, include Stags Leap District, Atlas Peak, Chiles Valley (farther east), Howell Mountain, Mt. Veeder, Spring Mountain District and Diamond Mountain District. Napa Valley wines from the mountain regions are often more structured and firm, benefiting from a lot of time in the bottle to evolve and soften.
A term typically reserved for Champagne and Sparkling Wines, non-vintage or simply “NV” on a label indicates a blend of finished wines from different vintages (years of harvest). To make non-vintage Champagne, typically the current year’s harvest (in other words, the current vintage) forms the base of the blend. Finished wines from previous years, called “vins de reserve” are blended in at approximately 10-50% of the total volume in order to achieve the flavor, complexity, body and acidity for the desired house style. A tiny proportion of Champagnes are made from a single vintage.
There are also some very large production still wines that may not claim one particular vintage. This would be at the discretion of the winemaker’s goals for character of the final wine.