Bouchaine is the oldest continuously operating winery in the Carneros District - a winery that began making wine long before the region earned its reputation for producing the great Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays of Carneros today.
The land was first owned by a Missouri native with the rather remarkable name of Boon Fly. Fly grew grapes and fruit trees on the property in the late 1880s. In 1927, an Italian winemaker named Johnny Garetto purchased the parcel that is today's Bouchaine. Beringer bought the estate from Garetto in 1951 and used it as a storage and blending facility until 1981, when a partnership that included the current owners, Gerret and Tatiana Copeland, purchased the winery and surrounding land. At the time, only a few winemaking pioneers realized the potential for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay in Carneros. And by appearance, this run-down Carneros property hardly inspired optimism.
Realization Of A Dream
Two dilapidated buildings. Bare earth. No vines. This was the scene that greeted Gerret and Tatiana Copeland when they visited this quiet corner of the Napa Valley in 1981. What was meant to be a quick detour during a business trip, became life-altering for both the Copelands and the winery. Inspired by the potential they saw in that neglected facility, the Copelands, together with other investors, quickly purchased the winery and the surrounding 30 acres from Beringer and established Chateau Bouchaine. They immediately set to rejuvenate the winery and grounds. The vineyards were replanted and the massive historic redwood wine tanks were re-milled to provide a striking new exterior façade for the winery.
Laying The Foundation
The massive renovation of the property continued for the next two decades. From the maturing of their new vines to ongoing modernization of the winery, Gerret and Tatiana continued to invest their resources and passion in bringing their dream to life. In 1993, the Copelands became the sole owners of the property and renamed it Bouchaine Vineyards. By 1996, the overall renovation of the winery had been completed, bringing a casually elegant style to Bouchaine. An additional 60 acres contiguous to the property were purchased four years later. This land included the two hills which have become the icons of the Bouchaine estate and part of the label design.
Photo: Vi Bottaro
A Period Of Discovery
Now that Gerret and Tatiana had planted the seeds of their vision, entrusting the cultivation of those seeds to the right hands was vital. Over a period of time they turned to Napa Valley icons such as Jerry Luper, John Montero, Eugenia Keegan and David Stevens, and Carneros pioneer, Michael Richmond.
In Full Bloom
In 2002, the Copelands turned to Carneros pioneer and founder of Acacia Winery, Michael Richmond. As Gerret Copeland states, “Of course Michael’s alter ego had to come along with him,” which is how Greg (short for gregarious) Gauthier joined the new team at Bouchaine as National Sales Manager. They embarked upon ambitious plans to replant vineyards, continuously improve the quality of winemaking, sales, and hospitality. One tastes the Copelands' efforts, and leadership with Michael and Greg, in the bottles of today. In early spring of 2015, Michael Richmond retired from winemaking.
April of 2015 marks the beginning of the next generation at Bouchaine. Gerret and Tatiana chose Carneros winemaker Chris Kajani to succeed Michael as winemaker and general manager. This heralds major restructuring for the winery. Today, the Copelands, along with the dedicated people who have joined them on their journey, enjoy the fruits of their 30-plus year labor of love. A unique blending of personalities, passions, and a spirit of discovery that creates an unmistakable character that can be tasted in every Bouchaine wine.