Gianni Abate was born and raised in California and frequently rode his bike around the family asparagus farm in California’s Central Valley, never once imagining that he could make a career out of making wine. As far as he was concerned, wine was just something his great grandparents made down in the basement.
Gianni attended the University of the Pacific with aspirations of becoming a pharmacist and holds a degree in Biological Science. Fortunately, soon after spending time working as a pharmacy technician, he realized that the pharmacy industry was not well suited for him. Due to the many hours spent in a lab coat with no clear career path, Gianni found himself working in the laboratories of several San Joaquin County wineries. It was in these wine labs that Gianni was exposed to the details of wine making and the structure of the wine business. This experience proved to be the hook that has kept Gianni focused on making world-class wines for the past twenty years.
In the spring of 2016, Gianni joined Chalone Vineyard as the Head Winemaker. His hands on approach to winemaking is a brilliant addition to Chalone Vineyard, where he artfully express Chalone’s unique limestone terroir in each wine. Early on, Gianni worked with consulting winemaker Michael Michaud who brings more than 30 years of experience with the Chalone AVA. Prior to joining Chalone, Gianni was the winemaker at Morgan Winery in Salinas, where he made award winning wine for 11 vintages. Gianni also has experience at Robert Mondavi, Woodbridge, Bronco and Delicato Family. His hands-on approach to winemaking is a brilliant addition to Foley Family Wines.
When Gianni is not at the winery, he enjoys driving his car at the Laguna Seca Raceway, spending time with his son Matteo and barbequing with his wife Gretchen.
Gianni will be a special guest of The World Tour of Pinot Noir Pairings Dinner on Friday, March 6, 2020.