It was the lure of winemaking that tempted Bernard Ehlers to buy a small, dying vineyard in the late 1800s and embark on a quest to create the winery that continues to bear his name. He replanted his newly-acquired 10-acre vineyard, established the olive grove that still thrives today and in 1886 completed construction of the stone barn that is now our beautiful winery building. His original Bale Mill Winery continued to operate long after his death, run by his wife until the 1920s and then by successive new owners who took advantage of its prime location and unique terroir.
A century later, another husband and wife team discovered the lure of this idyllic spot in the heart of the Napa Valley. French entrepreneurs and philanthropists Jean and Sylviane Leducq saw the potential for this region to produce wines with the power, balance and structure of the finest Bordeaux bottlings they knew and loved. Over several decades they patiently built a contiguous wine estate – common for French chateaux but increasingly rare in California.