The Story of Chateau Margene
Atop the rolling hills just outside Creston, Michael & Margene Mooney began the fulfillment of their dream to plant a vineyard, build a winery and establish their home. The family took up residence on the property in the Summer of 1998 and planted the 5.5 acre estate vineyard in the Fall of 1998. Chateau Margene’s first wine was their 1997 Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignon, with grapes sourced from a vineyard in Paso Robles’ west side Templeton Gap area and another vineyard off Airport Road in east Paso Robles. The first wines off the estate were the 2001 Cabernet Sauvignon and 2001 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon.
In 2006, the Mooney Family label was started with their sons Chris and Jon with the goal of producing Rhone blends from Paso Robles. The idea was to produce different varietals with a continuing focus on superior quality. The 2006 GSM & 2007 GSM both sold out very quickly at the two tasting rooms, as did the 2007 Syrah & 2008 Mourvedre. After producing Pinot Noirs from Paso Robles from 2002 to 2007, Michael and Margene researched the cooler weather climates of California and chose to acquire grapes from Monterey County for their Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir. The 2008 and 2009’s both sold out immediately. Production was increased in 2010 and currently there are two vineyard designated Pinot Noirs available (Vigna Monte Nero & Boekenoggen).
In 2011, “El Pistolero”, an entry level program was introduced to offer premium wine at an exceptional value. With the current hard economic times for many people, Michael wanted to produce wines that had all the elements of a fine wine without the costs usually associated. Currently, there are two releases, both non-vintages. The El Pistolero Pinot Noir and El Pistolero Cabernet Sauvignon are now available on the wine page and at some select wine shops and restaurants.
Michael’s family history in California dates back seven generations. Ignacio Linares was a soldier on the Juan Bautista de Anza Expedition into California in 1775. Ignacio’s grandson, Victor Linares was granted a Mexican Land Grant in San Luis Obispo County, by then Governor Juan B. Alvarado, for Rancho Canada de Los Osos in 1842. The grant extended from the Pacific coast along Los Osos Valley toward present day San Luis Obispo and encompassed Montana de Oro State Park. Having lived in the Tri-County area of Central California his entire life, Michael decided to launch a winery in the county where his forefathers lived.