After more than two decades of producing some of the most sought-after wine in Sonoma County, Vérité Estate celebrated its grand opening on May 13th. A unique partnership between Jess Jackson (who died in 2011) of Jackson Family Wines and French winemaker Pierre Seillan, the label has a remarkable 17 100-point wines to its credit.
Construction on the estate began in 2018, and a section of the winery’s hospitality space quietly opened to guests last August. But this month marked the completion of the winery’s massive barrel chai (pronounced “shay”) or barrel storage room.
It’s a true family affair. Seillan, along with his daughter and assistant winermaker, Hélène Seillan, craft three Bordeaux-inspired wines, La Muse, La Joie and Le Désir. The Vérité Estate was designed by Pierre’s son, Nicolas Seillan. We spoke to him about the estate.
All images courtesy of Adam Potts.
How do you describe the winery’s style?
We like to say that Vérité label embodies the timeless traditions of France and the limitless possibilities of California, and we want to reflect that at the Vérité Estate.
Our new barrel chai and hospitality spaces feature many of the elements of a classic French château, and throughout the various spaces we also pay homage to Sonoma. It is a construction featuring a French style with a Sonoma touch! And vice-versa!
The estate makes a lasting first impression. What was your inspiration?
Our goal was to integrate the building into its natural surroundings and keep wine production as the focal point, with seamless views of the hills and vineyards as well as a direct connection with the cellar. For the overall design I was heavily influenced by the symmetry and cloister concept of the Abbaye of Moissac in the South of France.
The long-term vision is to add a second barrel chai, a new production area and a “house of the vigneron.” (In France, the term vigneron is used to distinguish people who grow grapes and turn them into wine, as opposed to grape growers that sell their harvest to wineries.) When completed, it will create an enclosed courtyard and connect all aspects of the winemaking process.
How would you describe the interior design?
Our Director of Design Matthew Heinrich truly exceeded our expectations. He beautifully blended the Sonoma and French aesthetic and the look and feel progresses as guests move through the different spaces. Upon entry, the salon celebrates Sonoma, with abundant natural light, light-colored furniture, and subtle furnishings. Moving to the chai and into the caves presents a French flair with more pronounced carvings, vibrant and rich textiles and hand troweled walls.
The three Vérité wines, La Muse, La Joie, and Le Désir, also inspired the interior design, with spaces designed with each one in mind.
What’s your favorite space?
The balcony overlooking the barrel chai is a space where I like to be. From this location you can truly embrace the beauty of the space and appreciate the peaceful atmosphere, particularly early in the morning when the sun comes through the windows.
There is a space in the winery named in honor of brandy? How did that happen?
Downstairs in the cave we have a private tasting space we affectionately call the Armagnac Room. It’s a beautiful and intimate space with hand-hewn furniture, deep, rich colors, and layered textures. My father, Pierre Seillan, has a deep love and appreciation for Armagnac, as our family roots are also in the Gascony region of south France, where the centuries-old aromatic brandy is made.
What was the project’s biggest challenge?
Due to the scale, dimension and curved shaped of the cellar ceiling, a great deal of precision and expertise was required to maintain the symmetry and to ensure the structure was impeccable. When you are dealing with this kind of surface and square footage it’s a challenge, but in the end everything has been done perfectly.