Tchelistcheff, André

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Wine

Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

  • About

Tchelistcheff, André (1901–94), consultant oenologist and founding father of the modern California wine industry. Tchelistcheff was born in Moscow, the sickly son of a Russian professor of law. After a brush with death in the army, he trained as an engineer-agronomist in Czechoslovakia, then at the age of 36 decided to study viticulture and oenology in more detail, in Paris. While working on a farm near Versailles, he became a graduate assistant to the director of the department of viticulture at the National Institute of Agronomy as well as taking a course in wine microbiology at the Institut pasteur. An obviously talented student, who combined intellectual rigour with a philosophical bent, he worked briefly at moët & chandon and had already been offered jobs in Chile and China before being introduced to his future employer. Georges de Latour was a Frenchman who had established himself as a highly successful businessman and owner of Beaulieu Vineyard in the Napa Valley but was anxious to import a French-trained winemaker for the post-prohibition era.