Learn about our winemakers
About Winemaker Michael Michaud
With more than thirty years' experience in the area, Michael Michaud is synonymous with artisan, vineyard-centric wines from the historic Chalone appellation. His home estate, Michaud Vineyard, is the crown jewel of the Chalone AVA – its ageworthy, award-winning, limited releases define and express this unique winegrowing district.
Michael has established a long track record of critically acclaimed vintages, beginning with the wines he made while winemaker at Chalone Vineyard. His own Michaud Vineyard label has continued to receive impressive scores and excellent reviews from some of the most well respected wine critics. His first release was a 1997 estate grown Chardonnay and since then he has expanded his label to include a Pinot Noir, a Syrah, a Sangiovese, a Marsanne and a Pinot Blanc. All the Michaud releases are 100% estate grown with Michael farming the land, harvesting the grapes, and crafting the wines.
About Winemaker Michael Martella
MY GOAL as a winemaker has always been to make delicious wine that people like to drink. After all, wine is a social beverage, one that is best enjoyed in the company of family and friends. It's also the product of much communal effort from many people, not only the grape grower and the winemaker, but the vineyard workers, the "cellar rats" at harvest time, the buyers for wine shops and restaurants and, of course, the people who ultimately purchase the wine and take it home to share at the dinner table.
To me, there's this sense of community in every bottle, so it's important that when you pull the cork and pour the wine, it should be good to drink. I think a good wine is one that is delicious from the beginning, one that I don't get tired of after a few sips. Wine should be fun. This seems pretty simple, but what goes into reaching this goal has taken me many years and much thought.
I've been a winemaker for 38 years and a farmer all my life, and I've come to appreciate the fact that good winemaking is both an art and a science. Obviously, a winemaker needs considerable knowledge of the complex sciences of plant biology and organic chemistry to make good wine. The art of making wine involves the winemaker's skill in achieving the distinct blend of aromas, flavors and textures he wants in the wine.
But what's the best way to put together the science and the art involved? We've been hearing more and more about a kind of vineyard farming practice called biodynamics. It's an approach to agriculture that emphasizes the respectful use of resources in growing the food we eat. As you can guess, biodynamics also contains an element of spirituality because it implies a personal relationship between farmers and their land and crops.
For me, there has been an evolution in my own understanding of this relationship. For instance, I think it's easy to understand the relationship between terroir and wine – the flavors and structure in a wine are inevitably affected by the way the grapes were grown in a specific soil and climate. But now I've come to think that there really is a metaphysical element in wine – it's not just terroir, not just what kind of oak barrels you use or when you pick the grapes. A wine is ultimately a composition of the entire force of nature – soil, climate and everyone's energies involved with the grapes, with winemaking woven into the final product.
My belief about what is required to make good wine translates into very simple winemaking practices: I buy grapes from good vineyards and from good people. Growers who enjoy and honor what they do for a living are going to produce good fruit. I work with people with whom I have a mutual understanding, respect, and trust. The proof of that trust is to be found in the wine. Whether or not biodynamics per se is the farming trend of the future, I think following its guiding principles enables me to make what I call "biodelicious" wine.