In 1890, Horace Chase hired Mathias Vandeleur, a stonemason and bridge builder, to construct the Manor House from stone quarried in a nearby hillside. Vandeleur and his crew (who had worked on such large projects as the Greystone Manor – now the Culinary Institute) built the house as a summer retreat for the Chase’s. The castle-like house was described as being built on the exterior in the English Renaissance style with an interior of coffered ceilings of redwood and white oak flooring in the Arts and Crafts style popular at that time. One of the beautiful showcase items in the house is a stained glass window with the Chase family coat of arms that included the motto “Ne Cede Malis.”
The building of the “Old Stone Cellar” surrounding the cave is often attributed to the Chases. If they did so, it was during the same year as the building of the cave (or soon afterward). At some point after 1909, when the Chase's misfortune forced them to relinquish the estate, the old winery burned leaving only the roofless stone walls. Under the Grange ownership, the Old Stone Cellar, roofless but still retaining the bell tower, was decorated as a dance pavilion with a live orchestra providing music so that guests could “dance under the stars” on Saturday nights. Finally, in the 1970s it was restored to its original beauty and purpose under Carl Doumani.
In addition to the Manor House itself, there are many architectural and landscaping features that date from the Chase era. Included are the Carriage House; stone cabanas; the semi-circular plunge/swimming pool (generally viewed as the first fresh plunge in northern California); the sundial pedestal in what is now the Moon Garden; date and fan palms; and the terraced gardens with stone walls planted with rare and exotic flowering plants including orange and lemon trees; and 100 acres of vineyards. What an impression the house and grounds must have made on the many guests and visitors to the property.
In the 1920s the US government opened a post office in the basement of the Manor House, and the post office (Stags Leap, CA) co-existed with a bar in the basement until approximately 1944. While not in operation today, this landmark leaves behind several special stories and mementos. When visiting, this will be a memorable part of the tour.
Visit Stags’ Leap Winery
An experience like no other in Napa Valley, enjoy an intimate tour and tasting while listening to many of the fun anecdotes from the previous ownership eras.