“Civilized but not completely domesticated”
Our vision at Chateau Potelle is to produce wines of style and character that are representative of their birth place. Like for each of us, our "roots" provide us with a unique culture, a set of morals and traditions...Our job as winemaker is to respect, exploit and enhance the unique qualities of our "roots" to craft wines that have a sense of place and exhibit their distinctive personality.
Winemaking, like parenting, is an art always reinvented. Every year it's different, just as every child is different. There are guidelines, of course, but no defined set of rules. You adapt to accompany each as they develop and grow; control does not really work.
If nature has given our grapes unique personality, why should we attempt to alter their course with excessive manipulation, or the use of technical specifications -- jamming them into the mold of "standardized" wines? Have you ever tried to "standardize" your children? They run away!!!
VGS’ moto is “Perfection Without Pretention.” Wine is like salt and pepper, it's another spice to food. Some may say wine is art, and we agree, but one that is meant to be swallowed – not stared at. Yes, wine is unique and special, but that should not put it on a pedestal. Wine is not an ego thing...it is a pleasure to the senses. YOUR senses, YOUR taste. Not others'. Yes, it is OK to have your own taste – that is what wine, and parenting, and life is all about!
Over the last 35 years, Chateau Potelle has built a solid reputation for its commitment to quality. Selling exclusively and directly to consumers, we are privileged to have the trust of an outstandingly loyal clientele. We commit that we will stay focused and continue to maintain the high standards that our clients have come to expect. And we promise to keep our same irreverent and non-pretentious attitude toward wine. But just in case you are having trouble deciding what your taste is...VGS keeps it simple: good things speak for themselves!
Owner & Founder
Sent to the Napa Valley by the French government in 1980 to “spy” for 6 months, this son of Bordeaux sent a telegram home: “Looks good, I stay.” Jean-Noel Fourmeaux was seduced by the exuberance and generosity of the Napa Valley fruit. He loves his home country of France, however there were too many traditions and strict rules. He was inspired by the freedom given to California winemakers that allowed for great creativity and expression. Additionally, in 1980 a culinary revolution led by the young American chefs where ingredients were respected and enhanced convinced him the wines style were going to change over time.
Jean-Noel is a 35 years veteran of the wine industry in Napa Valley, yet his winery, VGS Chateau Potelle, is known only by those who search for wines that have dimension, subtlety and definitive character. Their assertiveness is all in the layers of nuances, not in the over-ripeness of fruit. To make “main stream” wines has never been his calling.
He is a firm believer that everyone has a taste and that once they know it, their taste will never let them down. Jean-Noel philosophizes that the problem with wine is that peer pressure, social status or preconceived ideas forbid some people to trust their individual and very personal taste. VGS, in turn, is an attitude where each taste is respected.
Jean-Noel’s unconventional but very serene and comfortable approach to life and wine is guided by his passion for making wines true to his standards and of his loyal customers.
With eighteen years experience at Chateau Potelle, Matthew has become the right hand to Jean-Noels’ left. Born and Raised in New England, educated at the CIA in Hyde Park, New York, seasoned at Blackberry Farm in Tennessee and maturing (at least trying) in the Napa Valley with his amazing wife Lindsay and twin daughters, Aubrey James & Madison Anne Marie. When not working at or drinking VGS, Matthew can be found in the hot tub or sleeping ☺!
With seventeen years experience and dedication serving our guests, Tony is THE face of VGS hospitality! In his spare time, when he’s not drinking VGS Sauvignon Blanc Tony can be found walking Lola at the dog park, skiing in Lake Tahoe (aka “going to church”) or watching his favorite Real Housewives’ on Bravo!
Todd joined the VGS Team in 2015 to manage the wine club and all direct sales. A CIA graduate, Todd began his career in the Napa Valley cooking but left the restaurant business in 2009, because frankly he prefers drinking to cooking. On fall Saturdays Todd can be found glued to the TV, cuddled up with his wife and his dogs Brick & Lola, watching Penn State football games and cheering on his beloved Nittany Lions.
Megan is the newest member to join the VGS team as our membership director and sales maven. Originally from Kentucky, hospitality is in her blood which makes her a natural fit to oversee our customer service. Prior to venturing to California, Megan spent a decade in NYC where she truly cultivated her passion for food and wine alongside some of the world’s most renowned chefs and sommeliers. When she’s not charming VGS members with her southern hospitality or spoiling her coworkers with homemade baked goods, she can be found cheering on The U (her alma mater), as well as her 3 racehorses. Oh, and did we mention she’s a Kentucky Colonel?! :)
Anthony hails from the East Coast and is a newly minted Californian as of 2014. Growing up at his grandmother’s side, Anthony fell in love with the kitchen at an early age and chose to embark on a decade and a half exploration of cuisine in the French brigade system at Philadelphia's storied Le Bec-Fin. VGS Chateau Potelle’s “old word disposition meets new world character” attracted Anthony as he finds the wines to be some of the most food friendly, age worthy expressions of contemporary Napa Valley! Don’t let the colorful vocabulary fool you - he is the first to proclaim VGS’s true meaning, without hesitation!
Is he old enough to drink? That's the question going through most people's minds when they meet "baby faced" Kale. Don't be surprised when you learn he's worked 17 harvests and is one of the youngest winemakers to be awarded 100 points by Robert Parker. When he's not living his dream, you'll find him crushing something other than grapes on the tennis court or eating his favorite super food…kale!
Eric grew up surrounded by wine and food while living and working with his East coast, winery owning, food obsessed family. Wanting to be the first in the family to learn the science of wine, he moved to CA to get his winemaking degree at UC Davis, and never left. To this day he is still finding new wines to drink, new foods to taste and cook, and new ways to make better wines.