Wine Making Philosophy
“My philosophy is, wine is made in the vineyard. I try to let each vintage speak for itself with minimal interference. By using organic farming methods and leaving our wines unfiltered and unfined, the beauty of the fruit shows through.”
—Eric Hays, Winemaker
Chateau Davell's Estate Vineyard is situated at an 1100’ elevation in the El Dorado AVA. We use sustainable vineyard management methods, eliminating the need for conventional herbicides and pesticides, and supporting the vitality of the surrounding ecosystem. We use cover cropping and other natural farming techniques in our estate vineyard as well as in the demonstration vineyards and gardens at our Tasting Room site. We are thankful to have relationships with other sustainable growers in both El Dorado and Amador Counties to source additional quality fruit for our winemaking. Ste. Maribelle, one of our Southdown sheep pictured here, helps manage the vineyard through weed eating and fertilizing.
Chateau Davell produces handcrafted wines in extremely small lots, combining old-world methods with new-world style. Winemaker/Owner Eric Hays approaches winemaking more as an artist than a scientist. He strives to make all of our wines, from our signature red blends to our Zander Zinfandel and Estate Chloe Chardonnay, well balanced, smooth, rich and velvety. Because none of our wines are filtered or fined, they have a beautifully pronounced bouquet, flavor and body not found in mass produced wines. Our labels feature the winemaker’s paintings of our family members and the original artwork used for the labels is on display in the Tasting Room.
Being able to spend time together as a family is really the most important element of our business. Eric developed a passion for wine during his 15-year tenure as a restaurant and club manager, and honed his winemaking skills on the job as an Assistant Winemaker at a local winery. Emily brings her passion for sustainability and green living to the vineyard and business operations, as well as managing marketing, Tasting Room design and operations, and our commercial kitchen. Eric's mom Davell, the namesake of the winery, brings her accounting and master gardening skills to the operation. All three family members manage the winery operations together.
Living an eco-friendly lifestyle, being good stewards of the land we farm, and creating a healthy environment for our children and animals are all integral parts of our family philosophy and business practice. We use no herbicides, pesticides or chemical fertilizers. Bottling by hand using recycled-content glass, labels produced with 100% post-consumer waste papers, and FSC Certified corks helps keep our production and packaging as sustainable as possible. We never add dyes or fining agents to our wines and we strive to work with other local growers using organic farming practices whenever possible. Thank you for letting us share our passion with your, and for supporting our family business!
Wines are selected by the Winemaker. Due to limited production, substitutions are not allowed. We ask that you keep your membership active for one year or four shipments, then you may cancel at anytime. You may choose to pick up your wines at the Tasting Room or have them shipped. (Shipping rates apply.)
Call Today to Join our Club: 530-644-2016 or sign up online.