Domaine Chandon Honors Past and Present Employees

In celebration of its 40th anniversary, Domaine Chandon, America’s leading sparkling wine producer, will honor its current employees and alumni – known as the Domaniacs – at a private event on July 6.

Founded in 1973, Domaine Chandon was the first winery in America to be established by a French wine and spirits producer and, as a result, it changed the future of the Napa Valley and shaped the lives of thousands of wine-enthusiasts who would cross the threshold as employees.

Among them have been females such as Dawnine Dyer, the first sparkling wine maker in the US, Michaela Rodeno, one of the first female executives at a winery and Ellen Flora, who has led Chandon’s hospitality team for more than 20 years.

A key component to the ongoing culture of Domaine Chandon continues to be the influence of youth on the spirit of the brand. So many of the first employees were young adults whose joie de vivre lent the winery a youthful fun quality that has remained its trademark today.

That youthful start has also served the winery well in maintaining an almost unheard of large number of long-time employees. Today over 15% of the winery’s workforce has been with the winery for more than 20 years. A large percentage of those employees who have risen through the ranks to high standing positions of expertise are of Hispanic heritage.

Jose Diaz, who joined the winery in 1978, manages the winery’s “very large machine,” or VLM. One of the winery’s first innovations in sparkling wine production, the VLM is used to riddle multiple bottles of wine at one time, saving hours of hand-riddling time. Today, multiple sparkling wine producers throughout the world use the design of the VLM that was originally created by Chandon.

Francisco “Pancho” Enriquez joined The Restaurant at Domaine Chandon in 1979. A motorcycle mechanic before joining Chandon, today Pancho is étoile’s pastry chef and has created some of the critically acclaimed restaurant’s most beloved desserts.

Ismael Soto Solario also joined Chandon in 1979 and has worked on the viticultural team for his entire tenure, establishing some of Napa Valley’s most prestigious appellations: Mount Veeder, Carneros and Yountville where Chandon was one of the first to farm grapes.

The influence of youth, females and Latinos has served Domaine Chandon well in its first four decades. To recognize these contributions, Chandon would like to have as many of its alumni family as possible join them for the July 6, 2013 festivities and invites those who would like to attend to update their information by sending an email to

Domaine Chandon is located at 1 California Drive, Yountville, CA and is open for daily tours, tastings and culinary experiences.

For more information, please visit

Photography available on request