I'm here to tell you a little something about myself and my wine company,
The Selene name comes from Greek mythology. There are three goddesses associated with the moon in this mythology; Artemis, the maiden goddess of the waxing moon, Selene, the mother goddess of the full moon, and Hecate, the wise crone goddess of the waning moon.
The moon carries a lot of meaning and symbolism for me, not the least of which is following its phases. By knowing whether the moon is new, first quarter, full, second quarter, new, etc., I know where to find it in the sky, when it rises, and when it sets. For me, it's another anchor that connects me to the workings of nature, like the fall and spring equinox and the winter and summer solstice.
Besides, like my label depicts, there are few sights more beautiful in Napa Valley than the moonrise over hillside vineyards.
I initially chose to focus on Sauvignon Blanc and Merlot for a couple of reasons.
Both varietals are personal favorites.
Both have a wide range of styles; in other words, neither variety has a narrow or limiting definition of what it is or could be. From my perspective, lots of opportunity to craft unique, richly expressive wines.
The grapes for the Sauvignon Blanc come from the Hyde Vineyard in the Carneros appellation of Napa. I use fruit from three different blocks within the Hyde Vineyard. All the blocks are planted to the musque selection of Sauvignon Blanc. The two younger plantings, from the mid-1990's, are on light, cobbly soils near a creek bed and have 1103 Paulsen for rootstock. The oldest block was established in 1986 on its own roots on a small hill.
The fruit for the Merlot has come from several different ranches over the years. Occasionally when I have had small, very exceptional lots from a particular vineyard, I've bottled them as vineyard designate wines; for example, Toth Family Vineyard ('94, '95), Hyde Vineyard ('95, '96, '97) and Frediani Vineyard (’05, ’06, ’07). The Napa Valley Merlot, on the other hand, has been bottled every vintage. From the beginning in 1991, its backbone has come from Madrona Ranch (Clone 3 on 110R) in St. Helena. Small percentages have come from other vineyards over the vintages, Toth Family (Cone 181 on 3309) in Coombsville, and Frediani Family Vineyard (Clone 181 on St. George) in Calistoga.
Beginning with the 2002 vintage I made two new red wines for Selene. The Cabernet Sauvignon carries the Selene label, and has been a Napa Valley Cabernet, as well as a vineyard designate from Dead Fred Vineyard in Coombsville. The Cabernet Franc based Bordeaux blend that carries a new label under Selene is called ‘Chesler’. Chesler is a tribute to my mother, Eileen Chesler, and sports a picture of her waterskiing in the late 1940’s. The Cabernet Franc for the Chesler comes from Frediani Vineyard in Calistoga.
You can find more information about the vineyards, as well as the winemaking background for all our wines on the Wines Page.
Selene Wines is my personal label. I do some consulting and wine making for other wineries, but Selene is my personal expression.
Selene's first vintage was the 1991 Napa Valley Merlot, followed by the 1992 Hyde Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc. Both were released in 1993. The addition of a Cabernet Sauvignon and ‘Chesler’ (a Cabernet Franc based Red Wine) began with the 2002 vintage.
Currently, the wines are made at the Laird Family Estate, a Napa custom crush facility that specializes in servicing the wine making needs of micro wineries like Selene. At Laird I can do what I love most, which is the day-to-day work of making wine, and keep all my assets liquid, literally.
I love making wine. From that first harvest, working the nightshift for Cathy Corison at Chappellet, I knew there was no doubt. Up to that point, I knew that having wine as a part of a meal with friends made that meal and that get-together something extra special, but until I worked in a cellar with grapes, wine, barrels, hoses, pumps, and other equipment, I didn't know how much I would love actually making wine.
After receiving my degree in Enology from U.C. Davis, I worked my way up from the cellar to assistant winemaker and then to winemaker. I worked at Chappellet and Robert Pepi. I then left the world of regular employment and began consulting with Tony Soter. I've consulted for Spottswoode, Araujo, Viader and Dalla Valle. Not long after I began consulting, I started Selene Wines.