CLOS LACHANCE, Santa Clara Valley

An actual ‘garage winery’, Clos LaChance began as a hobby and a passion in 1987, when Bill & Brenda Murphy planted ¾ acre of Chardonnay at their home in Saratoga (adjacent to Cupertino).  Their first commercial release - 200 cases - was in 1992, and within a few years, Bill was ready to retire from his position with Hewlett-Packard, relocate the winery to a unique microclimate 30 miles south-east in the Hayes Valley, and establish a winery and vineyard that would become a multi-generational project.

Vineyards at the new site were planted in 1999 to a dizzying assortment of varietals, and by 2001 the plantings had reached 150 acres. Extensive research into the best varietals, clones and rootstocks for the location has been ongoing, with successes expanded and failures eliminated. The primary varietals are Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah, while others such as Zinfandel, Malbec, Mourvedre, Petite Sirah, Petit Verdot and Semillon are also showing great success.  A state-of-the-art winery was built on the site 2001.

Located within the Santa Clara Valley AVA (aka Silicon Valley), Clos LaChance is the only winery and vineyard in the Hayes Valley, 20 miles south of San Jose.  However, the region has a long history of viticulture – the Santa Clara Valley is claimed by some to be the first premium winegrowing region in California, based around Mission Santa Clara in the 18th century.  By 1828, what is now known as Hayes Valley, adjacent to the historic town of San Martin, was planted with over 500 acres of vineyards and orchards.  Unfortunately, the vineyards succumbed to prohibition.  Studded with native oak trees and surrounded by rolling hills covered with vineyards, the valley is a truly enchanting location.  The region is also an ideal climate for growing grapes — cool, foggy nights followed by warm sunny days.

Launched in 2011, Hayes Valley is the ‘second label’ of Clos LaChance, yet the wines are also estate grown and hand-picked.  Only the Chardonnay comes from outside the estate — fruit is purchased from a sustainably farmed vineyard in Monterey.

Bill and Brenda run the estate with the help of their daughters, Cheryl and Kristin, and together they’re committed to being good stewards of the land.  As a family-owned and operated winery, it is vitally important to maintain the long-term viability of the land for future generations.  The winery and estate vineyards are Certified Sustainable by the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance, as are the wines for both Clos LaChance and Hayes Valley.