Paul Masson Biography, Wiki, Family, Business and Career

Paul Masson was born on February 14, 1859, in Jarnac, France. His early life involved exposure to the winemaking traditions of his region. In 1878, he ventured to California, drawn by the potential of the wine industry there. Masson quickly recognized the fertile soil and climate similarities between California and his native France.

Paul Masson Wiki

Masson emigrated from the Burgundy region of France in 1878 (at the age of 19) to California, United States, where he met Charles Lefranc (owner of the Almaden Vineyard and Wine Company), one of a number of French immigrants who had expanded the viticulture introduced into the Santa Clara Valley by the Catholic mission fathers. Masson returned to France in 1880 to finish school at The Sorbonne. After college, he returned to San Jose, California due to the depression in the French wine industry caused by the Phylloxera plague and became the winemaker at Almaden.

After the death of Lefranc, Masson purchased 573 acres in Saratoga, California, which he named La Cresta. He set about to plant 60 acres, mainly Pinot Noir and Chardonnay with cuttings from Burgundy and re-named the new winery the Paul Masson Champagne Company, now known as The Mountain Winery. According to the Paul Masson company web site, in 1892 Masson’s first sparkling wine under the name “champagne” was introduced at Almaden, and Masson eventually became known as the “Champagne King of California” after winning at the Paris Expo in 1900.
He was appointed to California’s Board of State Viticultural Commissioners on August 30, 1913.
Masson died at his home in San Jose on October 22, 1940, and is buried at Oak Hill Memorial Park.

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Paul Masson Business and Career

In 1882, he founded the Paul Masson Champagne Company in the Santa Cruz Mountains. He aimed to produce sparkling wine using the traditional méthode champenoise. Over the years, Masson’s commitment to quality earned him a reputation as a pioneer in California winemaking.

Paul Masson’s career flourished, and he became known as the “Champagne King of California.” His winery gained popularity, attracting visitors who were eager to taste his fine wines. Masson’s dedication to producing high-quality sparkling wine elevated the status of California wines on the global stage.

Despite facing challenges such as Prohibition, Masson managed to keep his winery afloat by producing non-alcoholic sparkling beverages and grape juice. His resilience and adaptability ensured the survival of the business during a turbulent period for the American wine industry.

On the personal front, Masson married Louise Grenier, and together they had children who became involved in the family business. The Masson family’s commitment to winemaking continued through the generations, contributing to the legacy established by Paul Masson.

In 1936, Paul Masson passed away, leaving behind a lasting impact on the California wine industry. His winery continued under various ownerships, but his name remained synonymous with quality sparkling wine.

The Paul Masson brand endured, becoming particularly well-known for its sparkling wines. Over the years, the winery went through changes in ownership and management, but the legacy of Paul Masson’s dedication to winemaking persisted.

Today, the Paul Masson winery stands as a testament to the vision and determination of its founder. The brand continues to produce a range of wines, including sparkling and still varieties, maintaining the tradition of excellence established by Paul Masson over a century ago.

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