Tracy winemaker plans return to France
by Denise Ellen Rizzo
Jun 06, 2013 | 2000 views | 0 0 comments | 37 37 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Herve Chevaillier, the owner of La Bonne Vie Cellars, stands inside his temperature-controlled wine processing room on Tuesday, June 4. The site of the winery, 9.36 acres on Lehman Road, is up for sale.  Denise Ellen Rizzo/Tracy Press
Herve Chevaillier, the owner of La Bonne Vie Cellars, stands inside his temperature-controlled wine processing room on Tuesday, June 4. The site of the winery, 9.36 acres on Lehman Road, is up for sale. Denise Ellen Rizzo/Tracy Press
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La Bonne Vie Cellars owner Herve Chevaillier leads Coldwell Banker realtors on a tour of his Lehman Road property in rural Tracy on Tuesday, June 4. The winery and adjacent house are listed at $1.8 million.  Denise Ellen Rizzo/Tracy Press
La Bonne Vie Cellars owner Herve Chevaillier leads Coldwell Banker realtors on a tour of his Lehman Road property in rural Tracy on Tuesday, June 4. The winery and adjacent house are listed at $1.8 million. Denise Ellen Rizzo/Tracy Press
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A winery in rural southeast Tracy is on the market for a buyer.

Herve and Colette Chevaillier, owners of La Bonne Vie Cellars, are looking to sell their winery at 29181 S. Lehman Road so they can return to Herve’s roots in France.

The sale will bring an end more than a dozen years of creating homemade wines in Tracy.

Herve Chevaillier sat with his wife Tuesday, June 3, inside the retrofitted barn that serves as their grape preparation area and tasting room.

“I’m going to miss this place tremendously,” he said. “I come out here and listen to music and drink a glass of wine. I love this place.”

The decision to sell came after Herve Chevaillier returned to France for the death of his father in December. He said the gathering of his large family made him realize it was time to go home and retire.

The couple said their goal is to sell the 9.36-acre winery, listed on the market at $1.8 million, to someone who wants to continue the wine-making tradition in Tracy.

In 2002, Herve Chevaillier and his former partner, Tom Schubert, turned their shared love for wine into a business.

Schubert, now living in Florida, started making wine in Lodi in 1972.

Herve Chevaillier was making wine in the Burgundy region of France before immigrating to the United States in the 1970s.

The two men also advised the owners of Windmill Ridge Winery when it opened on Linne Road. They provided the winery with barrels of La Bonne Vie wine, because the new vineyard’s grapes needed to mature for production.

When La Bonne Vie Cellars opened its doors, the winery produced 500 cases per year. Now working alone, Herve Chevaillier said he has cut his production to 350 to 400 cases per year.

“It’s a lot of work alone,” he said. “I’m supposed to slow down, not speed up. I really hope somebody comes that is excited about owning a winery.”

Collette Chevaillier said the moment is right to move on.

“We’ve been here almost 15 years, and every 10 to 15 years, he promised me we would go on a new adventure,” she said. “Now it’s time for a new adventure.”

On Tuesday, a group of Coldwell Banker realtors from the 403 W. 11th St. office attended a luncheon at the winery, which included a tour of the site.

“This is an amazing property,” said realtor Rebecca King. “It has so much potential. It’s spacious and inviting. This is a getaway. The only problem is you might not want to leave.”

King suggested the site would make an ideal bed-and-breakfast.

Listing agent Debbie Nadeau said she believed Chevaillier will get his full asking price.

“It’s a nice piece of property,” she said. “There’s a lot of potential there.”

The next event scheduled at the winery is the twice-a-month Friday Night Jazz. The event is 7:30 to 10 p.m. in the outdoor venue and is free to the public.

• Contact Denise Ellen Rizzo at 830-4225 or drizzo@tracypress.com.

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