Home Lifestyle Winemaker Simone Bergese’s Wines have won over 70 Awards

Winemaker Simone Bergese’s Wines have won over 70 Awards

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Winemaker

BRASELTON, Ga. – Château Élan has been making wine in North Georgia for
three decades, but it is Simone Bergese who has launched the Winery into a whole new era. Bergese
joined the winery as executive winemaker in 2012, and with him came a vision. Though he joined a
winery whose image was shadowed by that of a successful resort, he saw its potential. With a winery
renovation to complement his almost two decades of winemaking experience, he pledged to transform
the Chateau Elan Winery into something worthy of its own spotlight – a pledge that has won him 72
wine awards in just two years.
Bergese commenced the winery’s transformation by first replanting the vineyards with diseaseresistant
native Muscadine grapes. The challenge of growing classic European varieties in the region had
taken its toll on the vines, and Bergese’s vision left no room for sacrificed quality. “I saw a different way
– a possibility,” he said. “We would grow what was possible in Georgia and make it into the best
product.” For the classic European varieties, Bergese toured vineyards in California and hand-selected
those with the highest quality grapes. “For great wine you have to start with great grapes, so we tapped
into the nation’s best territories,” he said. From the West Coast vineyards Bergese takes pride in using
only fresh, whole grapes. “My vision is to make Chateau Elan the best winery in the East, which means
no compromise on freshness and quality.”
His first harvests were bottled in 2013, at which time he began sending samples to national wine
competitions. The response was amazing: Chateau Elan Winery hasn’t left a single competition
unawarded. As a result, the popularity and production of the wines has dramatically increased. 23,000
cases were produced in 2014, compared to the previous years of less than 10,000 cases. Remarkably,
Bergese’s first 2013 vintages of the double gold-winning Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve and gold-winning
Scarlet Reserve sold out completely within a year. Due to the winery’s incredible success in the past two
years, Bergese expects to increase production in 2015 to 25,000 cases.
In addition to increased volume, Bergese is also unveiling several new wines in 2015, along with
new vintages of his successful European varieties. Among the new wines is a line of three superpremium
creations entitled “Chateau Elan Fingerprint Collection.” Bergese considers these signature
wines – El Tempranillo, La Barbera and Les Petites – his mark on the great Chateau Elan heritage. They
will boast the highest quality, most extensive winemaking processes and complex techniques. The
Fingerprint wines, along with his repertoire of other American native and classic European varieties will
be entered into the top wine competitions in the nation throughout 2015 to establish Chateau Elan as a
consistent top-ten East Coast winery.
Also planned for 2015 is a cosmetic renovation of the winery to reflect the back-of-house
transformation and accommodate its continued growth and success. Plans include an expanded interior
complete with a new tapas and tasting bar, a remodeled entryway and an outdoor veranda with tasting
area and fire pit. “The winery’s transformation is for the total experience of our guests,” Bergese said.
“It’s not just about the liquid and how it tastes. We want to bring guests inside to really understand the
process and experience the art of winemaking.”
With his dedication to quality and the investment in the winery’s functional and cosmetic
aspects, Bergese has high hopes for 2015. “Georgia isn’t wine country, but we are making a story by
creating something magical out of our reality: a locally-focused winery with a national cut,” he said.
With 72 awards won since his first harvests in 2013, including multiple best-of-class, double gold and
gold medals, Chateau Elan Winery’s vision of greatness has become a reality. “I am thrilled to be taking
on some of the West Coast’s best wineries and coming out ahead,” Bergese said. “I am so proud of the
bold statement we’re making that Chateau Elan has such a strong commitment to quality.”
Château Élan Winery & Resort
Located just 40 minutes north of Atlanta, Château Élan Winery & Resort is North Georgia’s
premier meeting, event and vacation destination. On the 3,500-acre estate sits a 16th century styled
French château with a full-service winery and tasting bar, A AAA Four Diamond Inn and
conference center, a 25,000-sq ft European spa mansion, 63 holes of championship golf, tennis
center, seven distinctive dining outlets and more. Château Élan is a proud member of the
Preferred Hotels & Resorts group. For more information call 678-425-0900, visit
www.chateauelan.com or follow on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/chateauelan.