A Story of Passion and Attention to Detail
Chasseur Wines is dedicated to small-lot, handcrafted wines in the old French tradition with emphasis on vineyard designates. Our small size allows complete control over the winemaking process, enabling us to produce the finest wines the fruit has to offer. Chasseur Wines is the creation of William Hunter, a 30-year winemaking veteran. The name 'Chasseur' is French for Hunter and celebrates his desire to create Burgundian style wines.
Those in the know about Pinot Noir have heard of Chasseur Wines and its intensely focused Founder/Winemaker, Bill Hunter. Prince of Pinot calls him “’one of the “Wild Men of West County,’ the band of winemakers interested in the Pinot Noir grown in far western Russian River Valley and true Sonoma Coast …” Bill’s Chardonnay, too, is acclaimed; Charles Olken, publisher of the venerable Connoisseurs’ Guide to California Wine, picked Bill as No. 5 of his top 10 winemakers for California white wine. Notable wine critic Robert M. Parker, Jr., in Parker’s Wine Buyers Guide, 7th Edition, dubbed Bill’s Chardonay and Pinot Noir “beautiful”, adding, “For some reason, Chasseur has remained under consumers’ radar…”
Bill Hunter’s first passion is wine, not publicity. Bill Hunter was born in McComb, Illinois just outside of Chicago and spent his youth in New Jersey. He was discharged from the U.S. Marine Corps at the U.S. Naval Air Station in Santa Ana California and moved to Hermosa/Manhattan Beach just south of Los Angeles in 1969 to return to school to study philosophy. Bill fell into the Southern Californian counter culture and beach scene, tending bar at night and surfing during the day. Eventually he migrated to the restaurant business and his growing love of wine earned him a position as wine steward at the Chronicle restaurant in Santa Monica where he fell in love with Burgundy. By now, approaching mid-life he started thinking that winemaking could be a tantalizing next step in a business he knew he would be involved in for the rest of his life. He applied to the University of California at Davis and began taking classes in the sciences in preperation, and was accepted into the Enology program in 1985.
After graduating in 1987, Bill spent time working at Rombauer Winery in St. Helena and Bonny Doon Winery in Santa Cruz. In 1989 he began making wine for Chauffe-Eau Cellars in Geyserville. Yet, he always wanted to be able to express his own style, so in 1994, he began making his own wine on the side. He made two barrels of Dutton Chardonnay from the original shop block and a barrel of Carneros Pinot Noir. His wines sold out locally almost overnight due to their character, personality and overall quality. Each year thereafter, Bill would scour Sonoma for fruit that met his demanding criteria for quality. This allowed for slow growth that reached a peak of 2,500 cases in the 2001 harvest. Seeing the potential of West Sonoma County, his dream was to work with Pinot Noir and Chardonnay and own a winery in this area where he would work for himself, and focus solely on making small-lots of top quality wine. He now produces under 1,000 cases keeping only the best of the best vineyards.