Pontet-Canet extends into California!

Hi all,

I just read a great post by Jean-Michel Comme, the wine maker at Pontet-Canet, on the (French) LaPassionduVin forum, giving latest news about the domaine. I did not know about their venture in California, and I thought it might interest a few folks here so I translate below the main points from his post.

Jean-Michel was appointed by the Tesseron family (owners of P-C) to look out for some estate in the Napa Valley. After searching for several years, he finally found the place in the Mount Veeder area. There are bout 7.5 (French) Hectares of vines, among a 242 hectares estate with woods, prairies…

The estate used to sell its grapes by weight and did not bottle its wine. They are converting it to biodynamic (certification process for Demeter US has kicked off), on the same philosophy as Pontet-Canet. There was an irragation system that has been removed, and Jean-Michel was careful during the estate selection process that this would indeed be possible to achieve. They did it in one go.

The site was chosen for its rather cool climate located on the steep slope on this small mountain, and the fact that it is more clayey with sediments than the rest of the region.

This is a long term project for the Tesseron family and Jean-Michel is being very humble about it. He’s been there a few times this year, and his son Thomas, who resides in California, will work there (I’m not sure to what extent).

I’m not sure if 2016 will be the first vintage produced under the new name, or if it will be 2017 (I understood 2016).

At last, something good might come out the valley!!! pileon [stirthepothal.gif] [wink.gif]

Link to the whole post:


Perhaps one more great wine from NV?


Fascinating news!

Thanks for posting that.

this is the former Robin Williams estate, correct?

Yep. It’s very exciting. Pontet Veeder.

Yes, it’s the former Robin Williams estate, in the Mount Veeder AVA.

That is a beautiful estate, I assume they will be planting many more vines.

The fruit from that vineyard was the sole source for the Robert Craig Mount Veeder Cab.


Yes, that fruit went to Robert Craig Winery but they were able to acquire another vineyard adjacent to the Tesseron property.

It may be difficult for the Tesseron’s to plant more vineyard on the property. Vineyard development on slopes in Napa County is constrained by the Hillside Ordinance, which regulates all development on slopes greater than 5% or within specified stream setbacks. Any proposed development, whether vineyard or structure, must be accompanied by an erosion control plan. There is currently quite a backlog of pending erosion control plans.


This may be interesting to follow to see how well money talks.

It’s a really beautiful estate, I was there earlier this month.

The same took place in January. For more details on the vineyard

I was a bit surprised when I heard this transaction had taken place, honestly.

I like the Mt Veeder area, but I would think a brand as famous at Pontet Canet would have tried to purchase a vineyard in Rutherford or Oakville.

They say in the article the were looking for “several years?” Well, they could have bought the famous “Bella Oaks” vineyard just four years ago, next to Staglin. Or Ch. Montelena just 8 years ago when that purchase fell through. Robin Williams’ estate has never been one that has produced wine of great repute as far as I can remember.

It’s a monster sized estate but a lot of it is not developable because it runs at steep angles. It will be very hard to reach. There is almost no chance they will ever get approval for a tasting room up there. Veeder people can be very prickly.

I was just a little surprised this was their step into Napa they had been waiting so many years for.

Oh, man, buying Montelena, yikes!

That would seem like a solid score!