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by Fred McMillin
for June 29, 1998
The Legend of Glen Ellen
In 1983, the management of the embryonic Glen Ellen Winery in Sonoma Valley noticed a gap in the market. There were inexpensive jug wines with names like Chablis, and wines named after the grape,like Chardonnay at $10 and up. But there weren't wines named after the grape at $4 or $5. The plan had been to reach a production rate of 50,000 cases a year of $1O+ varietal wines by 1990. Instead, they switched to the $5 varietal target, and here's what happened.
1982—Sales were 6,500 cases. The stainless steel fermentation tank was a
rented milk truck. 1983—The target was changed to $5 varietals called Proprietor's
1997 Proprietor's Reserve Chardonnay, California
About the name "Glen Ellen"—The vineyard was established in 1868. The Glen Ellen Ranch was run by Mrs. Ellen Stuart, who both grew grapes and made wine. The town of Glen Ellen was named after Ellen Stuart. (Source: Prof. T. Pinney)
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