Chamisal Vineyards Announces Appointment of Brianne Engles to Head Winemaker

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Famed San Luis Obispo estate known for coastal influenced wines will usher in a new era with their first female head winemaker as the winery commemorates their 50th Anniversary.

San Luis Obispo, CA, February 28, 2023: Chamisal Vineyards, the first commercial vineyard planted in the Edna Valley, has appointed Brianne Engles as their new head winemaker overseeing the vineyard management of their historic estate and production of the winery’s acclaimed cool climate Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Engles, who recently concluded her second harvest at Chamisal Vineyards, becomes the first female head winemaker as the winery celebrates their 50th anniversary.  

Brianne Engles

“I am extraordinarily honored to be appointed as winemaker at a time when we are commemorating our 50th anniversary,” Engles says. “Chamisal is truly special place with a respectable history and an incredible pedigree of wines, and my team and I will work hard to preserve and showcase the site through our on-going sustainability efforts and craftmanship of the wines.”

Engles brings a wealth of both academic and winery experience to Chamisal, with prior posts at notable wineries including Two Hands in South Australia, Duckhorn and Quintessa in Napa Valley, and Adelaida Cellars in Paso Robles, CA. A graduate of Cal Poly’s Wine and Viticulture program, Engles also earned advanced certifications with the Wine & Spirit Educational Trust.

“Brianne adds a unique blend of experience and talent to Chamisal,” notes Nicolas Quillé, Master of Wine and Chief Winemaking and Operations Officer at Crimson Wine Group. “Her fine-tuned palate, passion for the terroir, and knowledge of regenerative and organic farming make her an excellent choice to continue the winery’s legacy.”

With Engles at the helm, Chamisal will embark on a new chapter and begin the stringent process of obtaining its organic certification for the estate. After the iconic vineyard was one of the first in the region to become SIP (Sustainable In Practice) certified, it has gone beyond requirements to improve soil health and biodiversity. In recent years, the winery carved out a portion of their estate to farm a community vegetable garden on behalf of the San Luis Obispo Food Bank. Chamisal also recently became the first winery in the country to install a Miyawaki forest, having planted 45 species of native oak and shrubs to sequester carbon alongside its vineyard. The winery currently generates 25% of their electrical power from solar panels and is part of the International Wineries for Climate Action (IWCA).

Engles will also be responsible for crafting Malene Wines, a Provence-style inspired program solely dedicated to Rosé made by Chamisal Vineyards and sold to select retailers and restaurants nationwide. Starting this spring, Malene will re-open their vintage airstream trailer adjacent to Chamisal Vineyards for outdoor tastings. In addition, Chamisal will host their 15th Annual Lobsterfest (May 19/20 and July 21/22) and a special 50th Anniversary celebration (August 19) that will showcase its new head winemaker. For pricing, reservations and additional information, please visit www.ChamisalVineyards.com.

About Chamisal Vineyards 

Chamisal was the first vineyard planted in 1973 in what would later become the Edna Valley AVA. Located just outside the city of San Luis Obispo, California, the winery specializes in handcrafted Chardonnay and Pinot Noir that express the wild and inspiring beauty of their 82-acre estate vineyard situated five miles from the Pacific Ocean. The winery has long been at the forefront of sustainability efforts in the region, and has recently shifted towards organic and biodynamic practices to improve soil health and biodiversity of the estate. The winery has introduced numerous regenerative agricultural measures, including the installation of a Miyawaki forest to sequester carbon and a community vegetable garden that is farmed on behalf of the San Luis Obispo Food Bank. Chamisal Vineyards boasts a perfect trifecta of gorgeous scenery, weather and wine with year-round events for SLO locals and visitors alike to sip and savor. The winery is located at 7525 Orcutt Rd in San Luis Obispo, CA.