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Mountain Winery

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Mountain Winery

Paul Masson Mountain Winery
Nearest city Saratoga, California
Built 1901
Governing body Private
NRHP Reference # 83001239 [2]
CHISL # 733[1]
Significant dates
Added to NRHP June 9, 1983
Designated CHISL 1960

The Mountain Winery, formerly the Paul Masson Mountain Winery, is a winery in Saratoga, California, USA. It was founded by Paul Masson, a pioneer of the California wine industry. The winery became famous for its slogan, voiced by Orson Welles in television commercials, "We will sell no wine before its time."

The winery is a California Historical Landmark (#733) and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.


Masson originally worked for Charles Lefranc, one of a number of French immigrants who had expanded the viticulture introduced into the Santa Clara Valley by the Catholic mission fathers. After Lefranc's death in 1887, Masson had a short-lived partnership with Lefranc's son Henry. Masson bought out Henry's share in the Almaden Vineyards and in 1892 Masson's first sparkling wine was introduced at Almaden, and he eventually became known as the "Champagne King of California."

Masson purchased the Saratoga property in 1901. He later centered his sparkling wine production here in Saratoga while other wines were developed at the Almaden operation.

In 1905, on a knoll above the winery, Masson built his house, dubbed "The Chateau," where he developed a reputation as an unrivaled host. His wife Louise Masson was a prohibitionist and did not attend the lavish dinner parties held at The Chateau. Masson was able to weather the strains Prohibition placed on the wine industry by selling grapes to the wholesale market and by receiving a special dispensation to sell sacramental wines.

The sandstone winery was rebuilt after the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, making use of sandstone blocks from the Saratoga Wine Company's building on Big Basin Way, also destroyed in the great quake. At this same time the ancient entrance portal from St. Patrick's Church in San Jose, which was also destroyed in the quake, was added to the structure.

Recent history

Wine making ceased in 1952, and the concert series began in 1958. These concerts featured famous performers such as Ella Fitzgerald, Tony Bennett, Aimee Mann, Ringo Starr, Stevie Wonder, Ray Charles, The Beach Boys, and Carlos Santana.

At an August 19, 2010 concert featuring folk band The Swell Season, a concert attendee leapt to his death from the roof of the venue onto the stage. The death was deemed a suicide.[3]

2011 was the last year the concert series was produced in affiliation with Live Nation. 2012 saw the first season of the concert series produced by AEG Live.


  1. ^ a b "Paul Masson Mountain Winery". Office of Historic Preservation, California State Parks. Retrieved 2012-10-14. 
  2. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places.  
  3. ^ Berton, Justin (August 26, 2010). "Apparent suicide at Saratoga concert". The San Francisco Chronicle. 

External links

  • Official website
  • "Paul Masson Mountain Winery". California's Historic Silicon Valley.  

 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the National Park Service.

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