Longtime winemaker Larry Brooks has resigned from the Chalone Wine Group after a tenure that began in 1979, when he joined Acacia Winery in Napa Valley. The Chalone Wine Group purchased Acacia in 1986, and Brooks remained as winemaker, later becoming general manager. In 1997, Brooks was transferred to CWG's corporate offices in the city of Napa to coordinate winemaking at the company's various wineries. But it was a move that didn't suit Brooks.
"I really was not happy in my new role," he said. "It had evolved into an executive winemaker, a managerial position." Brooks felt removed from the daily, hands-on activities of winemaking and decided it was time to leave. He will stay on at the Chalone Wine Group for three months in a consulting capacity, after which time he plans to weigh other options.
On the arrivals board is Amy Aiken, Viader Vineyards' new winemaker. Viader is known for its top-notch Howell Mountain-grown red wine, usually a blend of 60 percent Cabernet Sauvignon and 40 percent Cabernet Franc. Owner Delia Viader is currently completing construction of a new on-site winery. Previously, the wines were made in leased winery space.
Aiken has worked at the Oakville Ranch and Domaine Carneros wineries in Napa Valley. She is married to Beaulieu Vineyards winemaker Joel Aiken.