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REGIONS + MAKERS #1

THE INSPIRATION
BEHIND CHEV

Russian River Valley, CA
Michael Browne, Winemaker
Bob Browne, Craftsman/Father

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Inside the workshop of Michael’s father, Bob Browne.

Inside the workshop of Michael’s father, Bob Browne.

Ever since I can remember, my father was hands-on making the coolest things. An entomologist by trade, he was a serious craftsman and woodworker by hobby. I loved being in his shop. I was always intrigued by his tools, the smells and how he’d turn raw steel or timber into something so beautiful.

“I always liked taking things apart and putting them back together. But it wasn’t until I was 10 years old, working on a dairy farm, that I started making things myself. I’ve continued creating my whole life.”

– Bob Browne, Craftsman

Inspired by my dad, I was driven to make things too. Together, we’d go to antique shops where I’d buy old pieces of furniture — stripping and sanding anything I could get my hands on. I’d geek out analyzing wood grains and testing different stains on every piece. Kind of weird for a high school kid, but I loved it. And observing my father’s countless hours carving, welding and crafting to the highest detail, ignited my deep respect for makers — cobblers, artists, blacksmiths, chefs and beyond.

Bob Browne in his workshop
carving a driftwood sculpture in his workshop

“My mind gets totally absorbed and engaged in the work," says Bob Browne, carving a driftwood sculpture in his workshop.

At the same time, I was drawn to agriculture. Blame it on growing up in Washington’s fruit tree country, but when I wasn’t in my dad’s workshop refinishing old dressers — I’d be running around apple and cherry orchards. I also loved business and spent a lot of time trying to combine my passions. But it wasn’t until moving to Sonoma County with its world-class vineyards where I found my calling in winemaking.

“The Russian River Valley is the Garden of Eden. There’s no place on Earth like it.”

Sunset over the Russian River Valley
Pollenation

Everything grows well here: trees, flowers, fish, bees, butterflies, jackrabbits — and people. Mother nature simply brings a bounty of life so unique to this region. Blame it on the rare microclimate and the Pacific Coastal moderate temperatures — it’s perfect Chardonnay and Pinot Noir growing conditions.

“It’s what you can’t see that makes this region so spectacular. Where all the raw, earthy elements come together deep in the soil to give the vines flavor and life.”

A Vineyard in the Russian River Valley

And with more soil types in Russian River Valley than all of France, nearly every vineyard within a few miles produces vastly different flavors. With so many extraordinary sites, it’s like an artist’s palette for a winemaker. Just like my dad’s shop was for him.

“Today the values of hard work and craftsmanship are still alive. And more than ever, our culture is craving that human connection — a return to 'the good old days' with a deep respect for the handcrafted.”

And that’s the inspiration behind CHEV. Sparked by my love of old school workmanship, from classic cars to vintage clocks, CHEV pays homage to bygone days when the raw was hand-wrought to expert precision. Just like our grapes — exquisitely grown by master farmers, curated from renowned sites, and refined to delicious detail in our family shop.

Michael Browne tasting CHEV wine.

“At the end of the day, my quest is simple — to craft the most delicious wine possible.”

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