Farming has been our way of life for more than forty years. The children grew up in the existing one story ranch house in the middle of the vineyard. Light brown dust from the summer vineyard and dark rich mud from the winter vineyard was everyone’s contribution to the polished floors and upholstered chairs.
We learned early on to respect the balance of nature. Today, when a rattlesnake coils up in our cabbage patch we simply move him to the vineyard and suggest a gopher lunch. We cherish the uncultivated part of our property, where our hills are dense with big leaf maples, California Live Oaks and several species of deciduous oaks, Madrone, Manzanita, Toyan and Ceanothis. We have at times had drifts of wild boar, a black bear, mountain lions, skunks, bobcats, deer and coyote with pets of baby jack rabbits, hawks, squirrels, chipmunks and lizards. Raccoons and red fox often share our row of table grapes.
Four Chappellet families live in a sea of vines. The areas surrounding the vineyard are an oasis for birds and insects. Flowering shrubs and plants in the garden and in the wilds are an insectarium providing nectar and pollen.
Presently, three of our six children are making their homes on Pritchard Hill. The grandchildren carry on the tradition of learning to pick grapes and respect the vines. Young Owen can be seen helping his dad, Jon-Mark harvesting vegetables or watching him transform an original model of an Allis Chalmers tractor into an electrically powered vehicle. Reese and Diesel's favorite pastime is exploring the creek, catching salamanders and fishing with their dad Dominic or helping Uncle Cyril make pancakes or pizzas. The older members of the third generation have started internships at the winery which include working a season in the vineyard, leafing, pruning suckering and picking.
Our lives center on the vines, the care of our soil and the mood of the seasons. Beside grapes, our harvests include citrus- most all year long- peaches, nectarines, apples, plums, pears and berries. A broad selection of fresh vegetables encourages cooking creativity.