This Is Calistoga

Ask a Local: Balance of Fame & Modesty

Our Ask a Local blog series is designed for guests who desire insider knowledge on the town’s authentic, laid-back style. For the inside scoop, read on to learn a local’s tips on where to go, what to do and what makes Calistoga unique!

One of the many smiles to greet you upon a visit to Chateau Montelena is one that emanates from George Blanckensee, director of DTC Sales and Hospitality for Chateau Montelena Winery. Besting French whites in the ’76 Judgment of Paris, it was a Chateau Montelena ’73 chardonnay that placed first in the grand tasting at the Inter-Continental Hotel in Paris. The results proved Chateau Montelena as a fine wine producer, and California’s wine industry had come of age. Despite such fame, the staff and owners at Chateau Montelena remain unaffected by celebrity and continue to be a vital, thriving part of the local community.

We asked George to tell us about his favorite things to do in Calistoga and to share what he feels makes this spot in wine country so special.

What do you love most about living or working in Calistoga?

Of all the valley, Calistoga has the most charm. The old slogan is exactly the truth: “up the road, down to earth”, (a reference to Calistoga’s “Up Valley” location). Calistoga possesses the best “small town” experience.

If Calistoga was a celebrity, who do you think it would be and why?

Meryl Streep: classic, wide range of abilities, and someone I’d like to meet.

What do you wish more people knew about your property?

Though Chateau Montelena might carry a big name with history and movie background, we still concentrate on making the best wines with what mother nature provides in a friendly, down-to-earth environment.

What is your favorite spot to unwind at the end of another glorious Wine Country day?

SolBar or Sam’s Social Club, enjoying a glass of our wine!