How Beaulieu Vinyards Turned Tragedy to Triumph

Glass of red wine and glass of white wine.

With more than 1,100 acres of estate vineyards and a century-long history of producing fine California wines, Beaulieu Vineyards remains one of America's premier winemakers. Georges de Latour started the winery on a 4-acre land parcel in Napa Valley in 1900, and Beaulieu Vineyards consistently produces delicious and accessible wines that reflect the spectacular terroir of the region.


If one took Beaulieu Vineyards (BV) out of Napa Valley and California wine history there would be a massive void. In 1900, Georges de Latour bought a small 4-acre parcel of land with a house on it in the Napa Valley town of Rutherford. Whether knowingly or just fortuitously, Latour happened to acquire a spot in traditionally the best terroir in Napa Valley, and by default, in California. As a surprise he presented the small plot to his wife, Fernande, and according to the winery's history, she is reportedly the one who called, "Quel beaulieu!", meaning a beautiful place. True or not, the name stuck and Beaulieu Vineyards was born. While there were other older, noteworthy, and historic wineries in the Valley at the time, Charles Krug, Beringer, Schramsberg, and Inglenook to name a few; Latour and Beaulieu Vineyards made its mark and built its reputation as innovative, entrepreneurial, and a producer of some of the Valley's best wines.

Phylloxera Epidemic

Phylloxera nearly wiped out France's wine industry in the late 1800's. The pest hitchhiked its way to Europe via some American vines and spread, destroying much of the continent's vines by infesting their roots. The ultimate solution to eradicate the pest was to graft vines on to American rootstocks that resisted the phylloxera. There is irony here and it is not lost on the wine world, American vines brought the bug to Europe and American vines saved Europe's wine industry. This bit of irony went up a notch when Mssr. de Latour became the first to import the phylloxera-resistant varietals from France to the United States. Over the next decade, Latour imported thousands of these varietals for BV and also sold to other wineries as well. His action literally save the Napa Valley and California's wine industry from this scourge.

World Class Wine and André Tchelistcheff

Mssr. de Latour's passion was to produce quality wine comparable to the French. After Prohibition ended, BV began a methodical drive to produce world-class wines from Napa Valley. Imitation is supposedly the highest form of flattery. Latour recruited a Russian émigré enologist working at the Institut of National Agronomique, André Tchelistcheff. Tchelistcheff had a significant impact on BV and the entire United States' wine industry. He became the Maestro, the father of California winemaking, and the mentor to countless viticulturists and winemakers. Tchelistcheff served as BV's winemaker from 1938 up to 1968, and during that time he created the style not only of BV, but also of California wine itself and Cabernet Sauvignon. He introduced technique and methodology to the vineyards and the winery, helped create the sense of terroir to Rutherford and the Valley, and helped develop other wine regions within California, Washington, and Oregon.

Georges De Latour Private Reserve and Others

BV is the most collected Cabernet Sauvignon producer in Napa Valley due to the foundation Latour and Tchelistcheff built at BV. Latour's goal was to make wines comparable to the French. He imported French vines, brought in a French-trained enologist, and then began producing premium wines. In 1938, BV introduced their first George De Latour Private Reserve. This is the wine with big shoulders that BV and its reputation sits on. It's the U.S. wine that most closely resembles a First Growth Bordeaux. The 100% Cabernet Sauvignon does what most other California Cabs dream of doing, combines the hugeness, concentration, intensity, and complex structure of a Napa Valley Cabernet with the refinement and finesse of great French Bordeaux; truly the best of both worlds. On top of BV's stalwart flagships, the winery has built a broad spectrum of wines that cover all bases, from the top-tier to everyday value-priced wines.

Reserve Wines

The Reserve Wines express Beaulieu Vineyards' best - always excellent, often memorable.

  • George de Latour Private Reserve® Cabernet Sauvignon: The most collected Napa Cab is never a bad choice. This is one to keep in the cellar and ages well.
  • Tapestry: This wine is a Bordeaux-type blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot, and Cabernet Franc.
  • Dulcet: BV created a reserve blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah.
  • Reserve Pinot Noir: The wine is produced from BV's best Carneros vineyards.
  • Reserve Chardonnay: The grapes come from BV's Carneros vineyards.The wine is lightly oaked.
  • Clone 4: This is a limited production, handcrafted Cab that gets special attention from the BV winemakers. It's built for the cellar.
  • Clone 6: Another unique Cab clone that's big and chewy, it's also handcrafted with limited production and built to cellar.

Napa Wines

This is a group of single varietals from BV's vineyards in the Napa Valley. This includes Cabernet Sauvignon (Rutherford), Carneros Chardonnay, Carneros Pinot Noir, Napa Cabernet, Napa Merlot, Napa Chardonnay, Napa Zinfandel, Napa Syrah, and Napa Sauvignon Blanc.


This group is designated for the restaurant trade and includes Cabernet, Merlot, and Chardonnay. Wines are from the Central Coast or North Coast

BV Coastal

This group represents great value red and white wines from selected vineyards in the Central Coast and North Coast.

Beaulieu Vineyards - No End in Sight

This is the second century for Beaulieu Vineyards. They are one of the leaders in the California wine industry, hold a prominent position in the industry's history, and continue to innovate and look forward. The winery continues to stand for quality wines, bold vision, dedication, and passion that have been the founder's standard. Beaulieu is still beautiful.

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How Beaulieu Vinyards Turned Tragedy to Triumph