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Chesterfield Cellars - Santa Ynez Valley


Gold Medal, Long Beach Grand Cru Wine Competition

While there are many heartfelt stories that reside within the wine industry, none is more absorbing than that of this month’s Platinum Series Selection from microscopic Santa Barbara winery Chesterfield Cellars. It began back in 1972, when David Chesterfield was a business student at Indiana University in Bloomington. One of his electives was a wine appreciation course and Chesterfield was introduced into the intricacies of wineries and winemaking. That he enjoyed the class would be an understatement, as the remaining text will surely show.

After graduating, David made his way out west and wound up in the telecommunications industry. He eventually served as a vice president and general manager of a small company that dealt in long distance service. In 1983, he hired a young lady named Linda Stark to run his customer service department. Things went along quite nicely and, in 1990, David and Linda were married. In the meantime, David had traveled extensively throughout France and even spent a motivational evening with wine guru Alexis Lichine at his chateau in Bordeaux, a few years prior to his death in 1989.

During that time, the Chesterfields had developed a deep interest in wine and were also frequent visitors to Northern California’s magical wine regions. The pair talked about one day owning a winery of their own where they could produce the type of wines they truly enjoyed. Skip forward to the year 2005 and the Chesterfields finally decided to do something about their long-term love affair with the grape. They enlisted the help of their close friend Andrew Murray (the San Francisco Chronicle called him the Central Coast’s ‘wine whiz kid’) who agreed to help source and make the wines for the newly formed Chesterfield Cellars. Murray’s resume was world class and gave the Chesterfields a real shot at success.

“We obtained our winery permit in 2005,” explained David Chesterfield. “We had enjoyed the level of fruit that was being produced by vines in the Santa Rita Hills Appellation (the Santa Rita Hills AVA had just been approved) and decided that’s where we wanted to start. We even began looking for some vineyard land there but never found the parcel that quite fit our needs. We knew it would take 6 – 7 years to produce our first wine if we planted and we really didn’t want to wait that long.” With Murray’s help in sourcing, Chesterfield Cellars soon became a reality. The 2005 Pinot Noir was joined by a Santa Ynez Valley Syrah and a pair of Bordeaux blends that were named after the Chesterfields’ children, Brett and Kelsey. A total of 650 cases were produced of the four wines, a respectable amount for the fledgling winery.

Incredible success in competitions has assured Chesterfield Cellars’ continued achievement. Such widespread kudos has even sparked another long-term goal for David and Linda Chesterfield.

“We have always wanted to produce a Napa Valley Cabernet because these are among our favorite wines to drink,” commented Chesterfield. “With the acceptability of our first releases, we feel comfortable going forward, that is, if we are able to locate the right caliber of fruit.” Chesterfield Cellars is bolstered by the fact that 2009 was another near record harvest year and that more acreage was under vine than ever before. The sluggish national economy also points to more than normal fruit availability in most wine growing regions.

“We are only interested in ultra superior fruit,” added Chesterfield. “We subscribe to the old adage that it all starts with the fruit. So far we have been right on with the grapes we have acquired and we hope to be able to continue our fortunate streak.”

The imposing raised black, red and gold labels were a product of daughter Kelsey, 18, who will attend college next fall and who has already indicated an interest in the viticultural aspect of the winery business. Son Brett, 24, is finalizing plans for a Chesterfield Cellars tasting room to be located near Santa Barbara Beach that could be open as early as mid- 2010. It is easy to say that Chesterfield Cellars has truly become a family affair. Good feeling stories such as Chesterfield Cellars are not uncommon within the wine business, where many winery owners opt to be in the trade due to their unfailing affection for the grape. David and Linda Chesterfield are no exception to that group and are fulfilling long time dreams with their own unique winery.


  1. Chesterfield
    2005 Pinot Noir
    Chesterfield
    Santa Rita Hills
    Santa Barbara County

    $26.00

    $38.00
    Multiple Gold Medals
    id: 585
    Special
    Gold

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