The Second Wine Boom
In 1970, the Bissonette family purchased the land, replanted the vineyard, and in
1973 made the first wine in the Chateau since Prohibition. A few years later, Chateau Chevalier wines were again being sold throughout the country. The first floor
of the winery was used for winemaking while the second floor was converted to a residence. In this new incarnation, Chateau Chevalier prospered. Its wines were
good and several vintages of Cabernet Sauvignon were great.
In the early 1980s Chateau Chevalier was acquired by John and Gil Nickel. Already a success in the wine business with Far Niente Winery in Oakville, the Nickels set
out to renovate Chateau Chevalier. In 1986 the vineyard was re-planted, mostly in Cabernet Sauvignon with a bit of Merlot and Cabernet Franc. The vineyard
terraces were artfully redrawn, but the rootstock used was AXR-1, which is a hybrid between European and American grape species. Unknown at the time of planting, the
grape pest Phylloxera had undergone a mutation and had learned to thrive on the AXR rootstock.
As the vineyard came into production, its fate became more and more clear as vineyards in Napa and Sonoma began to decline from the disease. Faced with a re-plant of
the recently replanted vineyard, and with new demands on their time from other interests, the Nickels reluctantly decided to part with the property.