In 1969, the Panoz family moved to Ireland where they formed Elan Corporation, which has become an industry leader in drug delivery products and technology. Elan was the first Irish company to have a public offering in the U.S. market. Today, Elan is listed on the New York Stock Exchange and has developed four of the top 100 products in the industry. The company holds more than 100 world-wide patents with one of the most recognizable being the nicotine patch which has helped millions of Americans stop smoking.
The Panoz’s decided to bring the same discipline and high standards that created Elan Pharmaceuticals to the wine industry. The couple visited Georgia frequently since Elan had a research laboratory in Gainesville. During one of their trips, Don and Nancy tasted Muscadine wines, made from indigenous Muscadine grapes and the adventure began.
Muscadine grapes were widely available in several vineyards in Georgia, therefore the couple, together with their team of experts, decided to experiment in growing the classic vinifera varieties as well. Vintage after vintage, the microclimate of the Georgia location proved insufficient to grow the classic vinifera varieties such as Chardonnay and Merlot that are not native to America.
Many years passed and it is with the arrival of the current Italian executive winemaker and owner of the winery Simone Bergese that a radical change was made. No more experiments and no more failures. In 2012 the entire vineyards were replanted with the native Georgia Muscadine grape. He planted two varieties, Carlos for the white grape and Noble the red.
In order to expand the wine program and offer premium reserve wines in addition to his award-winning Muscadine, Bergese started a second Reserve Wine Program based on classic vinifera varieties grown in several different vineyards in California. Knowing that very high quality grapes were grown in one of the best world’s wine areas, Bergese leveraged his expertise to see out only the best grapes available. He now oversees farming and harvest for those vineyards. Once ready, those varieties are hand picked and transported whole cluster in refrigerated trucks across the Country to make amazing wines right here in Georgia.
In addition to the Reserve Wine Program, the winery also decided to offer some exclusive and rare limited production wines coming from overseas. Bergese started to collaborate and consult for 3 outside wineries. Two are Italian wineries from his birthplace in Piedmont, Italy that produce our Moscato and Dolce Rosso. The third winery is the amazing Tahitian Winery Manutea, which produces Brut Ananas, a rare Tahitian pineapple sparkling wine, exclusive to Chateau Elan Winery.
From humble beginnings, Chateau Elan winery is now honored to offer over 30 wines and produce half a million bottles each year. Forged by amazing partnerships and now under Bergese’s direction, Chateau Elan Winery is one of the largest and most awarded wineries on the East coast with the largest distribution in the State of Georgia.