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history of chamisal vineyards

Our winery has been cultivating fruit from San Luis Obispo and crafting cool climate wines for decades. Since our founding in 1973, a love of the land and reverence for great wines led us to create something enduring and some key milestones along the way.

Traveler's Choice award 2022

The Goss Family, Original Purchasers of farmland that would become Chamisal Vineyards.

1972

  • 69 acres of farmland is purchased just miles from the city of San Luis Obispo and five miles from the Pacific Ocean by Norman and Carolyn Goss, restaurateurs from Pasadena, CA.
  • The land parcel is named Chamisal Vineyards in honor of the native flowering plant that grew on the land.

1973

Chamisal becomes first commercial vineyard planted (approximately 30,000 vines) with support from local viticulturists and faculty at Fresno State and UC Davis in the area that would later become the Edna Valley AVA.

1976

The first vintage of Chardonnay grapes is harvested and is purchased by wineries in the Santa Cruz Mountains AVA.

1978

Chamisal produces its first two vintages of Chardonnay under its own label and is released in small quantities.

Tasting Room Opens in 1999

1981

Winery construction is completed, and the first Pinot Noir blocks (10 acres) are planted.

Chamisal 1986 Chardoonay rated 91 points

1989

Wine Spectator awards the 1986 Chamisal Chardonnay 91 points, the first Edna Valley Chardonnay to receive this score.

1999

Tasting Room opens at the original winery site, and the inaugural vintage of Califa Pinot Noir is released, winning a Gold Medal at the California State Fair.

2001

More acreage is purchased with the goal of planting more vines and one section overlooking the property is named, “Morrito Hill”, for its calcareous rock soils, elevation and “Grand Cru” potential.

2003

Califa Chardonnay receives 93 points and is listed as a Top Wine (and only wine outside Sonoma & Napa) in Wine Spectator’s report, “Golden Vintage,” a landmark piece for California Chardonnay.

Chamisal timeline 2005

2005

New winery facility is built and includes many innovations, natural lighting, dedicated area for wetlands, and using concrete as a natural insulation to stabilize temperatures and lower cooling energy costs.

2006

In the December issue of Wine Spectator, the winery was listed as part for the “Magnificent 30”, highlighting the best wineries capturing the essence of Pinot Noir, the only winery listed from the Central Coast. Califa Pinot Noir receives 96 points in the article, the highest rated Pinot Noir ever from the Central Coast.

Chamisal first vintage of Stainless Chardonnay

2008

The first vintage of Chamisal Stainless Chardonnay is produced, one of the first wineries in California to produce an unoaked style of the variety.

2010

Vineyards become one of the first in the region to be SIP (Sustainability in Practice) certified, a rigorous sustainable vineyard, winery, and wine accreditation.

2016

Winery becomes second-ever to be SIP-certified for its sustainable winemaking facilities, which utilizes recaptured and recycled winery wastewater and rooftop solar panels.

2017

Chamisal joins the newly formed San Luis Obispo Coast Wine Collective and applies for official AVA recognition with other local member wineries.

SLO Label

2022

Chamisal places San Luis Obispo Coast AVA on their estate labels, one of the first wineries to do so, reflecting the winery’s coastal origins and proximity to the Pacific ocean’s influences.

2023

Chamisal Vineyards celebrates its 50th anniversary

This historical timeline was made in collaboration with The Wine History Project of San Luis Obispo County. Learn more at winehistoryproject.org.

Vineyard and tasting room at Chamisal Vineyards