Congress Springs

Owners
Daniel and Robin Gehrs
Winemaker
Daniel Gehrs
First Vintage
1976
Last Vintage
1990
external image 1986%20Chardonnay.jpg

History

A graduate in Political Science, Daniel Gehrs had developed an interest in wine while at university. He managed to obtain an entry level position at Paul Masson Vineyards in 1974. Soon after he and his wife Robin discovered a derelict mountain vineyard, with head-pruned Zinfandel and Cabernet Franc vines dating back before Prohibition. The vineyard was on Congress Springs Road, so they named it Congress Springs Vineyards. The vines are still in production today.

The winery quickly established a reputation for quality, earning a "Spectator Selection" for their 1978 Pinot Noir from the Novitiate vineyard. The vineyard also provided the fruit for the winery's Chenin Blanc and Pinot Blanc wines. At its peak it was producing 25,000 cases annually.

But it was Chardonnay that the winery was best known for. Fruit sourced from the little known San Ysidro District was made into wines that regularly scored 90+ points in WIne Spectator.

In 1989 the winery attempted to launch a second label, Chaine d'Or (no connection to the Chaine d'Or winery in Woodside), which was to be a range of sparkling wines. The only known release was a 1986 blanc de blancs, which was a cuvee of 75% Santa Clara Valley (San Ysidro) Chardonnay and 25% Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Blanc.

The Gehrs left Congress Springs in 1990. They founded a new company, Daniel Gehrs Wines and after a spell with Elliston moved south to Santa Barbara County.

Congress Springs Vineyards changed hands and names a few times, before eventually becoming Savannah-Chanelle Vineyards.

References

Daniel Gehrs Story
Article from Wines and Vines dated December 1989