Meet Ondine Chattan, Director of Winemaking
Growing up close to Wine Country in Marin County, California, Ondine Chattan was enthralled with art, science and nature from an early age. From exploring marshlands near her home to studying insects and flowering plants, Ondine's interest in science grew over time into a love of biology and chemistry.
The daughter of an artist and theater set designer, Ondine was drawn also to fine art and spent considerable time visiting museum exhibits in nearby San Francisco. She wrestled with conflicting desires to pursue either scientific or creative disciplines; however, it took only a single introductory lecture on viticulture at California Polytechnic State University (Cal Poly) in San Luis Obispo for Ondine to realize that she'd found a pursuit which combined her interests in hard science and subjective aesthetics
After her first job at Sonoma's Cline Cellars, well-known producers of old-vine Zinfandels and other unique varieties, Ondine went back to school for a Masters in Enology from Fresno State University. After graduation, she went to work at Ridge Vineyards - another winery, like Cline, know for being unflinchingly idiosyncratic, and for using traditional, time-honored winemaking techniques.
It's this merger of the established techniques of winemaking with California's native and relentless pursuit of the new which drives Ondine today. As Ondine comments, "Winemaking is a wonderful mix of extreme fields. For instance, we use chemistry everyday, but we also use intuition." To this end, Ondine's interests in sustainable viticulture, vineyard and soil expression, and such "risky" techniques as native yeast fermentations are perfectly intertwined.