Mac McQuown began the process of creating Stone Edge Farm Estate Vineyards & Winery over half a century ago. Here are some highlights along the way.
1965: Mac McQuown joins American Society of Enologists, starts wine collection (French, Californian).
1968: Mac spends fall in France, mostly Bordeaux, tasting with Ken Kew, owner of Esquin Imports in San Francisco, largest west coast wine shop.
1970: Mac meets Dick Graff, visionary, winemaker, and owner (with his mother) of Chalone, with 40 acres of old Burgundy-variety vines 1,800 feet up in the Gavilan Mountains on Salinas Valley’s east side. Dick began winemaking there in 1965.
1971: Mac and his financial partner acquire 60% of Chalone’s equity, begin protracted process of creating what becomes the Chalone Wine Group (CWG).
1977: Mac helps launch Edna Valley Winery with the Niven family, owners of Paragon Vineyards near San Luis Obispo. Chardonnay and some Pinot Noir are produced at a price point below Chalone’s, and in considerably greater quantities.
1979: Mac spends a month in Burgundy with CWG colleagues tasting Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays.
1980: Mac organizes five other investors to create Carmenet, focusing on Bordeaux- style wines. In the mid-80s, Chalone goes public, acquires Acacia (more Chardonnay and Pinot Noir), then Carmenet, and raises equity capital from the Domaine Baron Lafite de Rothschild. Circa 1990, CWG buys land near Walla Walla, WA on the Columbia River for Canoe Ridge Vineyard & Winery, which makes mostly Merlot.
1995: Mac’s wine collection totals over 5,000 bottles when he moves to Sonoma. Today, it’s 15,000 bottles.
1995: Leslie and Mac McQuown acquire 19330 Carriger Road, first of four properties.
1996: Mac departs from Chalone’s board of directors after 25 years, and sells his shares. (Total output then exceeds 200,000 cases annually from all properties; Diageo, the British beverage giant, purchases CWG in 2005.)
1996: First vineyard is planted at Stone Edge Farm.
2001: Phil Coturri takes over day-to-day management of the vineyard.
2002: Jeff Baker (winemaker/general manager at Carmenet from its founding in 1980) becomes ‘full-time’ winemaker for Stone Edge Farm.
2004: First-ever vintage of Stone Edge Farm is produced at Carmenet.
2005: A 3,600-square-foot facility is leased in a building on Eighth Street East designed to house small wineries. First vintage is produced at our own winery.
2008: John McReynolds joins us to provide weekend dinners for Leslie, Mac, and their guests, creating the food they want to present their wines.
2011: A mezzanine completed at Eighth Street East accommodates Jeff’s lab and office, provides a welcoming tasting room for wine trade visitors.
2012: An old storage shed at the farm is turned into an elegant Dining Barn that seats over 20 guests indoors.
2012: Silver Cloud, 160-acre property on Cavedale Road, is acquired, has over 12 acres of Cabernet, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc vines, plus additional plantable acres.
2013: Leslie and Mac purchase 139 East Napa Street and create EDGE, private dining room and culinary home of the Collectors Cellar, wine club of Stone Edge Farm Estate Vineyards & Winery.
2017: (October): The farm is officially detached from the electric utility grid and operates as a self-sustained island.
2018: Stone Edge Farm MicroGrid wins California’s highest environmental honor, the Governor’s Environmental and Economic Leadership Award (GEELA).
2018: Alejandro Zimman joins Stone Edge Farm as winemaker.
2018: Stone Edge Farm is named Best Artisan European-Style Winery in California for 2018 by LUXlife magazine.