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Paul Masson

Born in France, Paul Masson (1859-1940) is considered one of the most important pioneers in California viticulture. He emigrated from Burgundy in 1878 California a where he worked for Charles Lefranc in his winery Almaden Vineyards worked as a marketing manager. Masson returned to France in 1880, but later emigrated due to the Phylloxera disaster finally moved to California and after Lefranc's death in 1887 married his daughter Louise. After a short-lived partnership with his brother-in-law Henry Lefranc, he founded his own winery in Almaden. There he produced his first sparkling wine in 1892, which subsequently earned him the title "Champagne King of California" due to his great success. After his brother-in-law's accidental death in 1909, he also ran Almaden Vineyards until 1930.

In 1901 Masson founded a winery under the name Paul Masson Mountain Winery in Saratoga, where he outsourced part of the production and produced sparkling wine. The "Château" built on a hill above the winery in 1905 offers a view of the Santa Clara Valley. The winery was destroyed in the great earthquake in 1906 and then rebuilt. A special feature is the church portal built in the course of this renovation of the also badly damaged St. Patrick's Church in San Jose, which dates from the 12th century. During the prohibition (1920-1933) Masson received a license to produce "sacramental and medicinal wines". In 1936 the Paul Masson Mountain Winery was acquired by Martin Ray. Finally, in 1952, the winery and thus the wine production was shut down.

The lavishly adapted winery has been operated as an event center under the name Historic Mountain Winery for weddings, conferences, etc. since 1958. There are also regular concerts with famous artists such as Ella Fitzgerald, Tony Bennett, Ringo Starr, Ray Charles, Carlos Santana and Stevie Wonder, as well as chess tournaments. The chateau is also used for events. Wines under the label "Mountain Winery" are produced by the neighboring winery "Mount Eden". The grapes do not come from their own vineyards, but are bought. The new owners since 2004 (including an ex-Vice President of INTEL and one of the founders of HotMail) now planted a small vineyard again, the first wine (since 1952) was marketed in 2008.

In 1990, Vintners International bought the vineyards and the Paul Masson brand, which in turn were bought by Constellation Brands were taken over. This multi sold the wineries in 2008 Almaden Vineyards. Inglenook Winery and Paul Masson to the Wine Group, There is no connection to the former Paul Masson Mountain Winery. Paul Masson is one of the most successful US brands (see below GAMIT ). She is also known from a 1970s commercial with Orson Welles (1915-1985) in which the actor promises: "We will sell no wine before its time" ) . On the Internet (YouTube), a notorious “outtake” (unpublished part) of the commercial can be seen, which shows Welles in a slurping, drunk state. The head office is in the city of Gonzales in Monterey County, The total area of vines is around 2,300 hectares. A wide range of alcoholic beverages is produced under the "Paul Masson" label. These include liqueurs, brandies, fortified dessert wines in Marsala, Madeira, sherry and port style, sparkling wines, as well as table wines in larger glass bottles and Bag-in-Boxes, Here are also wines under the label Taylor (Taylor California Cellars).

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