Foley Family Wines Announces the Appointment of Chip Tate as Master Distiller for Innovation as Expansion into the Spirits Business Continues

Chip Tate, Master Distiller of Innovation

Foley Family Wines Announces the Appointment of Chip Tate as Master Distiller for Innovation as Expansion into the Spirits Business Continues

Santa Rosa, Calif., Jan. 16, 2024 – Foley Family Wines (FFW), the Sonoma County-based family-owned wine and spirits company, has announced that Chip Tate has joined the company as Master Distiller for Innovation. FFW has continued to increase its footprint in the spirits business since the 2023 acquisition of Minden Mill Distilling, and the US launch of Charles Goodnight Texas Straight Bourbon Whiskey and New Zealand Lighthouse Gin. FFW made the strategic decision to add spirits to its growing luxury wine portfolio as the total spirits market continues to grow and has reached nearly 300 million cases as of January 2023.

“We are honored to have Chip join Foley Family as our spirits portfolio continues to grow and our production at our Minden Mill facility expands,” said Shawn Schiffer, FFW President. “Chip’s reputation and experience using techniques from centuries of distilling tradition and adding his own innovative ideas will help us as we launch our next generation of spirits.”

Best known as the founder of Balcones Distilling, Tate’s career in the spirits industry is a storied journey. Originally from Lynchburg, VA, Tate received a philosophy degree from the College of William & Mary and studied theology at Union Presbyterian Seminary in Richmond. In 2002, he followed his wife to Baylor University in Waco, TX where he served as an assistant dean. The same year, he earned a diploma in Brewing & Distilling from the Institute of Brewing & Distilling and considered using his long-time passion to start a brewery in Waco. Since Texas had multiple breweries but no distilleries, Tate turned to whiskey and in 2008 founded Balcones Distilling. Working out of a former welding shop near the Baylor campus, Tate designed and built his own copper pot stills and distillation equipment. He crafted a line of Texas Whiskeys including Texas Single Malt Whiskeys, Texas Rye, and Baby Blue, a corn whiskey which won a double gold at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition.

“I am very excited to be joining the Foley Family team. As Master Distiller for Innovation, I look forward to expanding Foley’s growing portfolio of spirits, as well as collaborating with the other Foley Family Master Distillers, Joe O’Sullivan in Minden and Rachel Hall in New Zealand, to create a collection of spirits that set the bar for quality and craftsmanship.”

For photos of Chip Tate, visit the FFW media image site:

About Foley Family Wines
Established by Bill Foley in 1996, Foley Family Wines (FFW) is a portfolio of highly acclaimed wines and spirits from some of the world’s greatest estates. The company owns more than 24 wineries and a distillery, each with its distinct style, legacy, and approach to hospitality. FFW has expanded its portfolio significantly since its founding, now including such storied brands as Chalk Hill Estate Winery, Sebastiani, Roth, Banshee, Ferrari-Carano, Chateau St. Jean and Lancaster in Sonoma; Merus, Silverado and Foley Johnson in Napa Valley; Lincourt, Firestone, and Foley Estates in Southern California; Chalone Vineyard in Monterey County; Four Graces and Acrobat in Oregon; and Three Rivers in Washington. In 2023, the company began operating Minden Mill Distilling in Nevada and relaunched Charles Goodnight Texas Straight Bourbon Whiskey. FFW’s import portfolio includes Lucien Albrecht in France, Nieto Senetiner in Argentina, and 14 wine brands and Lighthouse Gin, spanning three of New Zealand’s most acclaimed winegrowing regions: Marlborough, Central Otago, and Martinborough.

Media Contact

Nora Feeley
200 Concourse Blvd, Santa Rosa, CA, 95403