“My first visit to Bouchaine was an eye-opener,” recalls Tatiana Copeland, Proprietor and President of Bouchaine Vineyards.“There were two dilapidated buildings with bare earth and no vines.” However, the beauty of Carneros captured her imagination and began her journey with Bouchaine.
“There were two dilapidated buildings with bare earth and no vines.” However, the beauty of Carneros captured her imagination and began her journey with Bouchaine. For Copeland, the spirit of discovery was simply a natural extension of her roots. Heir to a remarkable legacy, Copeland’s family tree includes such luminaries as her great uncle, composer Sergei Rachmaninoff and her grandmother, the first woman to drive a car through Moscow’s Red Square.
While Copeland had grown up loving wine and had an extensive background in international business, she was new to the nuances of growing grapevines. She decided to reach out to the only Russian she knew in Napa, renowned winemaker André Tchelistcheff. On Bouchaine’s vineyard terraces overlooking the bay, Tchelistcheff gazed across the water to San Francisco and emphatically proclaimed that Pinot Noir must be planted there. Copeland set to revitalizing Bouchaine from the ground up, secure in the knowledge that great wines could be grown in that soil.
After years of work overlooking the rejuvenation of the winery, Copeland began looking for a new winemaker, preferably a woman. “After our initial interview, I quickly realized that Chris Kajani was exactly the person I was looking for. Her love of Burgundian wines, her intimate knowledge of Carneros and her sparkling and warm personality were perfect for us,” says Copeland. After a decade of working with Carneros Pinot Noir and Chardonnay at Pahlmeyer and Saintsbury, Kajani joined Bouchaine as Winemaker and General Manager in 2015. She jumped at the chance to drive the next phase of Bouchaine’s development, including a new winery and hospitality center.
Chris Kajani Kajani lives by the mantra that great wines come from the vineyard: “We live and breathe grapes and wine—but we also live on this dirt, breathe this air and drink this water. We are dedicated to leaving a gentle imprint, so that this land can be enjoyed for generations.” She believes that her wines should tell a story, each bottle being a narrative of the vintage, the land and the people who work together to craft these wines. Since joining Bouchaine, Kajani has built a team that is as focused on wine quality as she is.
Bouchaine celebrates its 40th anniversary this year and applauds the dedication, imagination and spirit of these two extraordinary women.