Freemark Abbey Chardonnay 2019

“Our 2019 Napa Valley Chardonnay is a rich, nuanced and complex wine. It is at once vibrant and balanced while being creamy with a long, lingering finish.”

– Kristy Melton, Winemaker at Freemark Abbey


Soil range from alluvial sedimentary in Coombsville and Carneros to the mineral volcanic soils of Howell Mtn. The vines range in age from 12 years to 26 years.

Abundant, and later than usual, rains marked the winter leading up to the 2019 season. This provided good soil moisture to set a normal size crop with plenty of vigor. The growing season was near perfect with moderate daytime temperatures and evening marine influences, creating ideal ripening conditions. The wines are fresh, fruit driven and vibrant, indicative of a hallmark and classically balanced vintage.




Newly appointed as the successor to longtime Freemark Abbey winemaker Ted Edwards, the accomplished Kristy Melton brings over a decade of fine winemaking experience to the St. Helena winery.

Kristy is an El Paso, Texas native and graduated from Angelo State University in San Angelo, Texas. She received a BS in Biology and Animal Science, and this passion for science led to the first phase of her career as a research scientist at the prestigious National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland. 

Living in the pricey DC metropolitan area, she supplemented her NIH wages by bartending and, in a key turn of events, got hired part-time at a winery in Maryland. The exposure she received through this job to wine and food piqued her interest in both. A subsequent family trip to Napa Valley inspired her to shift her focus towards wine, a discipline that engaged both this new interest and her scientific capabilities. She enrolled at the University of California at Davis where she earned a Masters in Viticulture and Enology in 2007. 

Kristy’s winemaking résumé, which includes Saintsbury, Clos du Val, and her own consulting service, is impressive. Equally impressive are her three years as Bordeaux Winemaker for Jackson Family Wines, which saw her overseeing the Cabernet and Merlot-centric programs for a number of JFW properties at the same time. In this position, Kristy found her way into Ted Edwards’ universe and shared winemaking space with him.

“During this time,” as Ted wrote in Freemark’s Fall 2019 newsletter, “I had the unique opportunity to be at tastings and in meetings with Kristy, observing her skill set with Bordeaux varieties, her exceptional palate and knowledge of grape growing, and to see her love of Napa Valley.”

“I am overjoyed with her interest in Freemark Abbey wines,” he enthused about his successor.