CF Wines
Chronister Family Wines



Brian Graham is the winemaker for Chronister Family WinesThe wine that changed his life and started him down his path? A 1963 Dow port shared with his father. But it was working for wine retailers in college that Brian’s story in the industry begins…

Brian worked in, and later managed, several wine stores where he learned about fine wine through the captivating stories of the various purveyors. Brian spent five years in retail before moving into distribution, and it was during his time in distribution that he was approached by a friend named Francois who offered him a place to stay and a job at his Chateau in Bordeaux

His mind set on learning all he could on growing grapes and making extraordinary wine, Brian sold everything he owned and purchased a one-way plane ticket to France

While in France Brian attended the University of Bordeaux and paid his way by working at several small Chateaux including Chateau Roquefort. He also worked harvest in Burgundy at an extremely small, craft “micro-winery” that was a real “hands-on” operation – all of the machines were literally powered by hand! Brian reveled in traveling across France and surrounding countries eating, tasting, and soaking up the old world style of winemaking that would later become the pillars of his winemaking philosophy

Having a thirst for knowledge, and while still living in France, Brian went on to attend the Wine and Spirits Educational Trust (WSET) in London; a school that specializes in teaching retailers every detail of each wine region around the world. It was there that Brian further developed an understanding of specialty winemaking techniques, exotic terroirs, and the methods needed to create significant nuance within a wine

Missing his homeland and ready to come back to the US, Brian moved to the iconic Napa Valley in 1997. He continued his education at Napa College while working for several wineries and winemakers of distinction in Napa and Sonoma. Fortunately for us at CFW and other and a few other brands with a premium focus, Brian has turned his attention to specializing in small family-owned projects with unique terroirs.

​​​Chronister Family Wines is a small, family run winery located in Sonoma, CA. Our focus since inception has been the production of Rhone inspired blends and distinctive single varietal wines with an obsessive emphasis on quality. Fruit for our wines is sourced from vineyards in regions ideally suited to varietal development 

Our inaugural release was the 2012 Children of Tides Syrah, which was featured again in 2013 but unfortunately sold out before we could offer it to the general public. Though our love of Syrah has not diminished, in 2014 we had the opportunity to begin sourcing Grenache from some outstanding vineyards known for this varietal and have never looked back                                                       

Why Grenache? I like its paradoxical personality.  It is a varietal with unparalleled purity and range, while at the same time being incredibly pigheaded and utterly resistant to manipulation. There are few wines that can be so intensely expressive of the vineyard while maintaining its distinctive varietal character. Grenache can be deep, rich and hedonistic or subtle and delicate. It has the capacity to be fruit forward and jammy or floral and earthy. And while the winemaker may attempt to subtly accentuate some inherent characteristics, more than a gentle nudge and the wine tends to fall apart. It is truly a wine made in the vineyard