Wine. Food. Family.
French Bar Wines is owned and operated by the Coleman family. This land and this business are in our blood. Our grandfather taught us to grow grapes in a sustainable manner. We learned early to appreciate the fruits of our own labor, especially when those fruits can be savored for years to come.
After half a lifetime of experiences, we’ve come together, back where it began for us. Each sibling brings different talents to the table: winemaking, farming, business. Together we’re sharing the passion and values we grew up learning and building something that can be appreciated for generations to come.
FROM OUR FAMILY TO YOURS, CHEERS!
how we make our wine
French Bar wine are estate grown and sustainably farmed on our family ranch in the Sierra Foothills. The growing conditions here are unique, and in many ways ideal for the varietals we produce. Sitting above the fertile valley, our shallow, gravelly soil forces the vines to struggle, and the cooler, windier climate enables us to control growth and vigor.
As our pioneer predecessors learned, this is a challenging landscape to farm, but it rewards your effort with beautiful, expressive fruit. We take a minimalist approach to winemaking. It’s our aim to simply nurture that fruit through the process, enabling it to become the fullest expression of the place and the seasons that produced it.
A HISTORY OF RISK AND REWARD
The history of French Bar is a quintessentially Californian story. In 1849, a group of French sailors jumped ship in San Francisco Harbor and made their way inland, seeking the promise of fortune and a chance to create a new life. When they struck gold on a sandy bar on the Tuolumne River, the area came to be known as French Bar.
The forty-niners were followed by homesteaders, then ranchers, and then the railroad. As California entered statehood in the early 1850s, the area was renamed La Grange (French for the farm). La Grange became the seat of Stanislaus County in 1856, a period of rampant growth and relative lawlessness that continued until the gold began to peter out and mining finally ceased in 1880.
Today, La Grange is a mostly rural farming community. Visitors can still see a few of the original 1850’s buildings, as well as the rusting hulks of the gold dredges that once plied the river. While the gold boom may have come and gone, the pioneering spirit and the will to carve a life out of these rocky hills is still very much a part of this place and the people who call it home.