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Chateau Julien Winery - Carmel Valley, Monterey Pe


Chateau Julien has won over 1,900 awards in both national and international competitions.

Every wine ever produced at Chateau Julien Winery has won an award for excellence. Since the winery’s first wine, a 1982 vintage Merlot which won “Best of Golds” and “Best American Merlot” in the American Wine Competition, Chateau Julien has won over 1,900 awards in both national and international competitions.

Nestled in Carmel Valley, a few miles east of the Monterey Peninsula, Chateau Julien Winery was named after and styled from, an actual French chateau in the St. Julien district of Bordeaux. Owners Bob and Patty Brower fell in love with the French chateau and decided to create the same European home-style feeling to the winery they built in Monterey. There is little of the usual “public tasting-room” look at Chateau Julien. There is no tasting bar in the greeting room they call “The Great Hall”. Rather, visitors are treated to generous pourings of exceptional Chateau Julien wine at the dining room table next to the fireplace. Educational tours of the winery are enthusiastically given and go well beyond the typical whisk-through that other wineries provide. No reason to feel intimidated here!

The chateau-style winery was built in 1984, on what was once a seven and one half acre Christmas tree farm. During construction of the chateau, the winery produced about 3,000 cases out of a warehouse in Monterey and an office in Carmel. Their first wines were a 1982 Merlot, a Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc, all released for sale in October of 1983. The wines were an instant success, earning multiple medals at competitions, and the winery won a number of “Best New Winery” honors.
Needless to say, demand for their wines mushroomed. Their immediate goal at that time was to reach a production of 15,000 cases. However, the number of cases was secondary to maintaining consistent, top-quality wines. A gradual climb to 15,000 cases was achieved throughout the 1980’s, then continued to 20,000 during the last two years of the decade. In 1985, Bob and Patty Brower began bottling wines under a second brand name called “Emerald Bay”. Then in 1989, a third brand was added which they labeled “Garland Ranch”. These two products were introduced to share the Chateau Julien premium style of winemaking to a wider audience of wine drinkers searching for a more popular priced alternative. These two wines combine for a total of nearly 60,000 cases a year and are distributed throughout most of the U.S. The Chateau Julien wines remain as their smaller, hand crafted, top-of-the-line, premium selections. Over the years the winery has added Cabernet Sauvignon, Gewurztraminer, Johannisberg Riesling, a white Meritage, and most recently a Sangiovese, Nebbiolo and an Italian blend they call Trebbiano.

In 1997 the Browers purchased 125 acres of vineyard land in the Salinas Valley planted to Chardonnay, Sangiovese and Merlot. Prior to the upcoming 1997 harvest they purchased all of their grapes from the outstanding vineyards located right there in Monterey county. “We are very confident with the growers we use,” says owner Patty Brower, “we’ll continue to produce our wines from the best sources available regardless of whether it’s from our own vineyard or from others in the area,” she adds. Bob Brower and long time winemaker Bill Anderson, experiment with many vineyards sites before committing to purchase their grapes. “The best Merlot grapes in California are found right here in southern Monterey county,” Bob Brower states. Chateau Julien wines are usually made with grapes from multiple vineyards, taking great care to use only the best available from each site. “Our style can be described as California-French,” says winemaker Bill Anderson. “For example, our Chardonnays are not the ‘big killer Chards’, with tons of oak, like a lot of California Chardonnays tend to be. Our style is dry, fruity, with a nice oak presence.”

Bill Anderson has been at Chateau Julien since 1983 producing a long string of award winning wines. Believe it or not, as a hobby of sorts Bill made small, experimental batches of wine when he was just 12 years old! Growing up in the Santa Clara Valley, Bill’s interest was and still is, chemistry. He graduated Stanford University in 1971 and was subsequently hired to work in the Pulmonary Function Department at Stanford Hospital. There he was employed as a blood gas technician working with premature infants. Longing to rekindle his childhood hobby, Bill decided to learn winemaking in a more formal fashion by studying the craft at U.C. Davis. After earning a degree in Enology and a minor in Viticulture, he landed a job as winemaker at Mt. Eden Vineyards then left to join Chateau Julien a short time later. Since 1989 Marta Kraftzeck has joined Bill to assist in the winemaking duties.

Chateau Julien’s veteran winemakers coax all the best qualities from the superb Monterey grapes they use to produce world-class wines. Merlot though is perhaps what initially put Chateau Julien on the map. It is certainly the varietal that established their quickly earned reputation for outstanding wines. And with the addition of Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon the winery is hitting all cylinders. “I really feel our success has been a result of the people Bob and I are working with,” says a modest Patty Brower. “Naturally, we’re very proud of the quality of our wines. But we also want to be known for the quality of people who are with us here at the winery, giving great tours, offering warm hospitality, and doing all the necessary behind-the-scenes activities that make it all happen.”



Co-owners, Bob and Patty Brower

In 1980, Bob and Patty Brower uncovered a secret during a trip to California. The secret was Monterey county.
On this trip away from their home in New Jersey, Bob and Patty discovered the exceptional quality of wines being made from grapes grown in Monterey county, California. Even as a knowledgeable and avid wine enthusiast, Bob, like most of the wine community until then, had not yet realized the huge untapped potential for producing wines made from high caliber Monterey county grapes.

For many years prior to that trip, Bob and his best friend in New Jersey had studied as much as they could about wines and the wine industry. Their zeal for learning about wine far exceeded the normal level of enthusiasm. Bob’s passionate interest in wine was contagious, quickly absorbing the thoughts of Patty also. In fact, it had been a goal of Bob and Patty’s for many years, to someday own and operate a winery in California. Now they had found the perfect place - Monterey county. After all, why put up with the outrageous prices and the overbuilt land of Napa Valley’ Monterey county was a beautiful place, perfectly suited for grapes, with huge upside potential.

Bob was born and raised in Oceanside, Long Island, New York. He attended college at nearby Fairleigh Dickinson University in New Jersey. After college Bob went to work for Shell Oil Company, settling into what easily could have been a life long career. Owning and running a winery was perhaps the furthest thing from his mind.

Bob remained at Shell Oil until the entrepreneurial bug bit him in the early 1970’s. He left Shell Oil to start his own petroleum company. Over the next 10 years he managed to build a small empire of retail service stations and also wholesaled petroleum to other independent gas stations. It was also during this period of time that Bob and Patty met, she having worked for the freight company that hauled Bob’s petroleum to his customers. By 1976, Patty and Bob were working together at Bob’s company and beginning to forge the idea of owning a winery.

On that trip to California in 1980, Bob and Patty fell in love with a beautiful piece of property just outside of Carmel. They had wanted to move to California for years, and this was the perfect chance. Within a year Bob and Patty had moved to begin working on their dream. The winery they erected took over a year to build, fashioned after a French chateau they had run across in the Bordeaux region. From the beginning, the Browers’ desire was to create a feeling of warmth and welcome. ‘Everyone is treated the same here,” says Patty. ‘It doesn’t matter if you’re a wine expert or if you know nothing at all about wines. We try to extend the same courtesy to all.”

Their continuing goal is to offer great wines at prices the general public can afford. Whether you try a Chateau Julien, Garland Ranch, or Emerald Bay wine, the quality is there, and the price is right. ‘My only regret,” quips Patty Brower, looking back at their growth over the years, ‘is that we didn’t build a bigger facility!”

If you are lucky enough to find your way to Monterey, the Browers’ chateau doors are open every day. We think you’ll agree they succeeded not only in producing outstanding wine but also in creating a comfortable and pleasurable place to enjoy it.

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