The F. Chevalier Company
Chevalier became the sole agent for Old Castle Bourbon Whiskey and imported Grappe dOr Cognac. In 1872 he moved the business to San Francisco. Three years later he took a man named Comte into partnership, a man who had experience in the wine business.
As Chevalier settled into business in San Francisco, phylloxera, the dreaded vine pest, began killing the vineyards of Europe. In a short time, every native European vine succumbed to the insect. This resulted in a scarcity of French wines and cognac in the 1880's. The cure for this disease was to replant the vineyards with the European grape grafted on the native American vines whose roots were immune to the insect. This cure took time.
This scarcity caused a wine boom in the Napa Valley. In 1880, Napa County had about 3,500 acres in grapes, and 40 wineries. This number grew to 18,000 acres of grapes and 166 wineries over the next decade. Chateau Chevalier was built at the end of this boom in the wine business. There is evidence that Chevalier was making wine and brandies at other wineries in the Napa Valley before the completion of the Chateau.