The Swanson Vineyards story began in the summer of 1985, when W. Clarke Swanson, Jr. purchased a 100-acre property on Oakville Cross Road in the heart of Napa Valley. He was fortunate to obtain the services of André Tchelistcheff, one of the 20th century’s most sought-after winemakers, as a consultant, and, in the bold business style long associated with the Swanson name, planted Merlot in the heart of Cabernet Sauvignon country.
As the risk paid off with excellent, well-received wine (a “Cab-lover’s Merlot”), the Swansons, together with their winemaking team, continued to experiment, planting other lesser-known varietals such as Sangiovese, Petite Sirah, Semillon and Pinot Grigio.
Swanson Vineyards has no available wines.
1050 Oakville Cross Road,
Born in the vineyard-rich region of Livermore, California, Chris Phelps fell in love with two things early on in life: wine, and the French language.
So it was natural that he studied enology and French at UC Davis, and after graduation in 1981, entered the Institute of Enology at the University of Bordeaux. In addition to participating in an intensive wine program, his requirements demanded practical experience, and he was fortunate enough to discover a landmark immersion opportunity, serving as winemaker at Château des Laurets in Puisseguin-St. Emilion during the blockbuster 1982 harvest.
In 1996, Chuck Wagner of Napa Valley¹s Caymus Vineyards recruited Chris for several winemaking projects, hiring him as full-time red specialist winemaker in 1999. While there, he led the production of both the prestigious Caymus Napa Valley and Special Selection Cabernet Sauvignon bottlings.