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Chris Corley
June 14, 2021 | Chris Corley

Dear Ol' Dad

As Fathers Day approached, we’ve been thinking a lot about the Founder of our winery, Jay Corley. To seven of us, he is Dear Ol’ Dad. To twelve others, he is Grandad, although there are a few more that refer to him that way, from their hearts. He had a gregarious personality, a big heart, and vision.

In the late 1960s, his love for the wines of Burgundy sparked something in him. He became very interested in growing grapes, making wine, specifically Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. In the late 1960s, if you wanted to grow world class Chardonnay and Pinot Noir in California, you would probably look to establish yourself in the southern end of the Napa Valley. At least you would if you were Jay Corley!

Please enjoy this short video greeting from one of Jay’s sons, Winemaker Chris Corley.

VIDEO : In The Vineyard | Winemaker Chris Corley

Chardonnay and Pinot Noir are the two primary varietals that lured our dad to establish his vineyard in what is now known as the Oak Knoll District of Napa Valley. When he first saw the land, it was a declining prune orchard, with a stand of black walnut trees down by the river. The neighbors were growing figs. Grapevines were just making a comeback as a commercial (legal) crop in the late 1960s. This was a long-standing effect from Prohibition … when alcohol was outlawed, the winegrapes of Napa Valley lost almost all of their value, since winegrapes don’t have much commercial value other than being a raw product to make wine.

Dear Ol’ Dad planted primarily Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, with small amounts of Chenin Blanc, Gewurztraminer, Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon. The Cabernet Sauvignon was all grown upvalley, as was the conventional wisdom of the time. That was fifty years ago, and we’ve learned a lot in the meantime. ‘We’ being our family, our winery, our friends, colleagues, the whole wine industry.

Now, in addition to our Chardonnay and Pinot Noir … we proudly grow Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, and Syrah in Oak Knoll District. That said, it was Chardonnay and Pinot Noir that originally lured us here, so we have a special place in our hearts for these two.

This week, we’re honoring our Founder, Father, Grandfather, ‘Dear Ol Dad’ by offering two very special wines that we know he would love … CORLEY Chardonnay ‘Block 3, Clone 95’ 2018 and CORLEY Pinot Noir ‘Block 2, Clone 777’ 2018. Both of these wines are Estate Grown, Produced and Bottled.

They are 100% varietal, and speak to the unique soil, climate and topography of our estate vineyard. If you hold the empty bottle to your ear, you might hear the daily afternoon Oak Knoll District breeze, and the subtle footsteps in the vineyard.

We hope that you’ll consider joining us in celebrating Fathers Day with these two special wines. For more information, please visit, call us at (707) 253-2802, or email us at


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