Chateau St. Jean Winery
Chateau St. Jean Winery is a one-of-a-kind destination. What makes it unique are the stunning estate views in the heart of the Valley of the Moon region. Romance springs eternal as you walk the grounds of the Chateau with wine in hand, along the courtyard patios, lush gardens and European fountains. Located off Highway 12 in Kenwood, Chateau St. Jean is an iconic winery and prides itself on its history, sense of place and world-class wines.
Did You Know? A Little History on Chateau St. Jean
The Valley of the Moon takes its name from the Wappo, Miwok and Pomo Indians, who named it “Valley of Seven Moons” because “seven times the moon passed over the peaks of the mountains as it rose in the sky.” In 1913, Jack London, renowned author who lived in the Glen Ellen area, wrote The Valley of the Moon, thus shortening the name.
Chateau St. Jean was founded in October, 1973 at the base of Sugar Loaf Ridge. In 1980, the winery and grounds in Kenwood were completed. The “Chateau” as it is known became the hospitality center.
By the summer of 2000, Chateau St. Jean winery opened its Visitor Center and Gardens. In keeping with the Chateau architecture and sense of place, the new wine tasting and retail room is housed in an elegant garden structure surrounded on three sides by terraces and outdoor garden spaces. These garden spots offer intimate areas for wine tasting, picnics and strolls. The statue of Jean, the winery’s namesake, stands in the main courtyard garden.
Chateau St. Jean offers vineyard designated Chardonnays from the acclaimed Robert Young, Belle Terre and Durell Vineyards as well as a Pinot Noir from Durell Vineyard and a Fumé Blanc from the La Petite Étoile (“The Little Star”) Vineyard. In 1999, Chateau St. Jean was the first Sonoma winery to be awarded the prestigious “Wine of the Year” award from the Wine Spectator Magazine for its 1996 Cinq Cépages Cabernet Sauvignon, a Bordeaux-style blend of “five varieties.”
Wine Tasting Experiences
Charcuterie at the Chateau
Come and immerse yourself in the Sonoma wine lifestyle. This delightful experience offers four wines perfectly paired with local cheese, charcuterie and accompaniments as you relax on the patio of the 1920s Chateau and take in the breathtaking view of the Grand Lawn and Estate Vineyards.
$35 per person. Offered daily on the hour from 10am–3pm. Reservations required.
Cinq Rêves Library Tasting
Experience luxury at its finest with a library tasting of Sonoma County’s most legendary Bordeaux Varietal Blend. This is an amazing opportunity to taste a vertical of their rich, velvety Cinq Cépages and Reserve wines.
The tasting is held in the Chateau. This is a semi-private experience and seating is limited to a maximum of eight people per tasting.
$75 per person. Offered Friday–Monday at 11am and 2pm. Reservations required.
Château St. Jean’s Flagship Wine
What makes the 2013 Cinq Cépage special? Each vintage there are up to five varieties of the classic Bordeaux grapes consisting of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, and Petit Verdot. Before blending, each component is aged separately for twenty-three months in French oak, with just over half of all the barrels being new (51%). Once the components are assembled, the blend spends almost an entire additional year in the bottle before release. The grapes are sourced from some of the finest appellations throughout Sonoma County. This includes the Moon Mountain District in Sonoma Valley, which gives structure to the blend with black, dense mountain fruit. Knights Valley, which highlights boysenberry flavors and elegant tannins. Dry Creek Valley which adds lush juiciness and rich texture. Finally, the Alexander Valley fruit shows bright berry flavors with notes of dried herbs on the finish. In signature Cinq Cépages form, this wine combines the strength of the diverse Sonoma County region to create an approachable, well-balanced and elegant wine.
Winemaker Margo Van Staaveren, Chateau St. Jean
Margo Van Staaveren will be celebrating her 37th harvest at Chateau St Jean. She was named “Winemaker of the Year” by Wine Enthusiast magazine in 2008 for a good reason. She knows what she’s doing when it comes to making fine wines. During her long tenure with the winery, Margo has played a pivotal role in every facet of the winemaking process. As winemaker, she makes the final decisions involving the blend and the style to create beautiful and elegant wines of the highest quality at a range of price points.
Under Margo’s supervision, Chateau St. Jean produces an extensive portfolio of Sonoma County wines as well as vineyard designated wines, limited-production Reserve wines and the flagship Cinq Cépages Cabernet Sauvignon.
The art of blending is the cornerstone of Margo’s winemaking philosophy. Of most importance, is the ability to create a signature blend that carries from vintage to vintage while still capturing the uniqueness of that particular growing year. The Chateau St. Jean Sonoma County wines are appellation blends of a specific varietal. These wines give Margo the opportunity to blend together the distinct characteristics from each sub-appellation to make the best wine possible from that vintage.
Margo Van Staaveren graduated from the University of California at Davis in 1979 with a Bachelor of Science in Fermentation Science. She joined Chateau St. Jean as a Laboratory Technician in 1980. By 1989, she had worked her way to Assistant Winemaker and later named Associate Winemaker. Margo continues a rich legacy of winemaking as the fourth winemaker in the winery’s history.