Chalk Hill Estate Vineyards & Winery Announces 50 Year Anniversary
by Andrew Chalk
I have long taken the view that anything named 'Chalk' is good, so I was delighted to hear this news.
Disclaimer: I am not related to any of the corks in these bottles.
FROM THE WIRES...
CHALK HILL ESTATE VINEYARDS & WINERY ANNOUNCES 50 YEAR ANNIVERSARY
AS LEADING LUXURY CHARDONNAY HOUSE
Healdsburg, CA, April 18, 2022– Chalk Hill Estate Vineyards & Winery is delighted to announce the celebration of its 50th Anniversary year in 2022. To mark this momentous occasion, the Sonoma County icon will hold special experiences and tastings throughout the year on its spectacular 1,300-acre property in Healdsburg, featuring 300 acres of sustainably certified vineyards and over four acres of organic culinary gardens. Chalk Hill is renowned for its Chardonnay history and in this 50th Anniversary year will introduce three new Chardonnays to its portfolio—Little Patch Chardonnay and Carol Ann Oak Hill Chardonnay, as well as a return of its top tier, Founder’s Block Chardonnay, last made a decade ago. Chalk Hill now features seven distinct estate grown Chardonnays, highlighting its leadership in Chardonnay over the past 50 years.
Founded in 1972 by Fred Furth, Chalk Hill was acquired by Foley Family Wines in 2010. Under Bill Foley’s leadership, Chalk Hill continues to exemplify the Chalk Hill AVA as one of the top winegrowing regions in California. Thoughtfully woven into the natural terrains of the Russian River Valley, the terroir is characterized by a distinctive layer of chalk-colored volcanic ash which inspired the name of Chalk Hill, the eponymous appellation and the estate.
Bill Foley expresses his deep gratitude and reflects on Chalk Hill’s past, “It is an honor to steer this iconic winery, leading with sustainability and legacy at the forefront of our efforts. We take pride in producing elegant wines that reflect the distinct beauty of the region and are proud of all that Chalk Hill has accomplished over the past 50 years.”
Recognized as an early champion of Chardonnay in California, Chalk Hill’s first vineyards planted on the estate include 11 acres of Chardonnay known as the Founder’s Block. Such a large focus on Chardonnay was unprecedented at this time in California, foreshadowing Chalk Hill’s vision and dedication to its flagship varietal while establishing a new growing region. The Chalk Hill AVA was declared in 1983 while world-renowned winemaker David Ramey led winemaking at the estate, where he focused on his groundbreaking work with indigenous yeasts, sur lies aging and malolactic and barrel fermentation. Ramey is credited with establishing Chalk Hill’s signature Chardonnay style of richness, balance and elegance that put Sonoma County on the oenophile map and is now emulated by many.
Courtney Foley, Second Generation Vintner notes, “As stewards of this special property, we take our legacy very seriously. This includes the site-specific wines that we carefully cultivate, but also the large portion of the property that is wilderness and not planted to vines, the bounty of produce from our organic culinary garden as well as the social sustainability of the people who farm and work to craft the wines in our growing portfolio.”
Known for its terroir driven, native yeast fermentation Chardonnays, Chalk Hill allows the site to shine through with minimal winemaking intervention, site-specific farming practices and thoughtfully planting each vineyard site, the foundation of Chalk Hill’s 50 years of viticulture. One third of the estate’s vines are planted to Chardonnay, including the proprietary Chalk Hill Chardonnay Clone 97, developed in partnership with UC Davis between 1996-2001. During this time Chalk Hill conducted one of the largest and longest maintained Chardonnay clonal trials in California and in doing so cemented its legacy as a producer of luxury Chardonnays.
50th Anniversary festivities include the signature Chalk Hill Soirée Blanc on August 6th where guests will take in unparalleled 360-degree views of the Chalk Hill Estate, the Mayacama Mountains and Alexander Valley. From atop Ridge Park, the highest point on the estate, guests will enjoy white wine selections and gourmet bites made by the Estate Chef from the four acre organic culinary garden. In addition, the Foley Family, Chalk Hill’s proprietor, is proud to be the Honorary Chair for the 2022 Sonoma County Wine Auction, the region’s leading charitable fundraising event September 15-17. Special experiences celebrating the milestone anniversary include: guided estate vineyard and culinary garden hikes and winemaker dinners at Chalkboard Restaurant in Healdsburg.
An advocate in the local community, Chalk Hill and the Foley family have been longtime philanthropic supporters of agriculture with a mission to give back and conserve the region through sustainable agriculture measures and investing in the next generation of farmers. In 2022 The Foley Family Foundation donated scholarship funds to the Healdsburg Future Farmers of America (FFA) to support young adults studying agriculture. The fund will provide local high school students with training and leadership skills in the business of agriculture, with the goal of supporting long-term agriculture in Sonoma County.
About Chalk Hill Estate Vineyard and Winery
Chalk Hill Estate Vineyards & Winery located in the Russian River Valley AVA in Sonoma County, California, is one of California’s premier producers of luxury wines. Founded in 1972 by Fred Furth, Chalk Hill was acquired by Foley Family Wines in 2010. Under Bill Foley’s leadership, Chalk Hill continues to promote the Chalk Hill AVA as one of the top winegrowing regions in California. The unique topography, climatic and geological diversity of Chalk Hill creates an environment that allows for a wide range of varieties to be grown on the estate including Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Petit Verdot, Carmenère, Syrah and Semillon. The 1,300 acre iconic Sonoma estate includes around 300 acres of vineyards, a winery, a hospitality center, culinary gardens, equestrian pavilion, ponds and a wilderness area.