About us

Family owned and operated, from 1986 to 2017, Chandelle offered medal winning wines from Sonoma and Napa, eacb bottle featuring full color aviation art by many of top artists in the genre. The idea was conceived by Robert Arnold and his parents, Bruce and Barbara. The Arnold Family's story is bound up with that of the rise of aviation in America since 1911.

Located north of San Francisco, in the heart of Northern California's Wine Country, Chandelle takes it's name from an aviation term used to describe a 180-degree change in direction and an increase in altitude. This maneuver is a classic test of aircraft performance and pilot skill requiring a smooth touch on the stick and rudder. Retiring from the wine business, Chandelle has a limited supply of its famous Spirit of Flight aviation art labels and is offering them in a handsome series of custom framed and shelf display art decor as well as the first in a series of books written by Bruce and Robert Arnold. 

Robert and Kathy Arnold

Chandelle Winery

For over 30 years Chandelle provided Gold Medal Winning wines to individuals, companies, organizations in the aviation wold. Our Cabernet Sauvignons, Chardonnays and Sauvignon Blancs featured a choice of full color, aviation art labels created by most of the top artists working in that genre. For decades, Chandelle wines were served at the National Aviation Hall of Fames annual events in Dayton, Ohio. This "Oscar Night of Aviation" honors those men and women, past and present, who made flying and space exploration possible. The Arnold Family retired from wine making in 2017.

The Five Star and the Lieutenant

Okinawa, 1945. General Hap Arnold, one of only a few to ever wear 5 Star rank, meets up with his son Bruce in the field on Okinawa. Bruce had a platoon of Army half tracks mounted with Quad .50 machine guns.

Bruce and Barbara - The Founders

Mom and Dad: the best sales team Chandelle Winery ever had. Here they are in Dayton, Ohio for the dedication of Arnold House at Wright Patterson AFB. The old family quarters from long ago.

Robert & Kathy - Chandelle's Owners

Today, Chandelle is owned and operated by Robert and Kathy Arnold Here they are at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington in front of the orginal 1903 Wright Flyer. Robert's grandfather, Hap, learned to fly at the Wright's operation near Dayton, Ohio in 1911 and became close friends with the Wright Family and was a frequent vistor to Dayton.

Our Story Begins with...

The son of a Pennsylvania country doctor, Arnold Family patriarch Henry "Hap" Arnold became one of best known figures in the US and around the world. He had been on the cover of Time, Look, Colliers and many other magazines. Before becoming a Sonoma Valley rancher in 1946, Hap was a Five Star General and commander of the largest and most powerful Air Force the world will ever see. That story starts in April 1911, when he became one of the first two Army pilots trained by the Wright Brothers at their school in Dayton, Ohio By the late 1930s, Hap Arnold knew on a close personal level almost all the designers, manufacturers, researchers, and pioneer pilots in the flying game.

One of these was Donald Douglas Sr., a friend since 1917 and the top aeronautical designer of his generation. Doug's design, the Douglas World Cruiser, in 1924 completed the first around the world flight for the US Army establishing his company's reputation for reliable aircraft. By World War II, Douglas Aircraft became the world's leading aircraft company, best known today for their game changing DC-3. Douglas would build for the US Military as well, including thousands of C-47s, C-54s, attack planes and others into the jet age.

Doug's daughter Barbara would marry Hap's son Bruce Arnold in 1943.

Under Hap's leadership, the Air Force expanded to 2.5 million men and, at its peak, over 79,000 aircraft with worldwide operations. Now on a world stage as "the Boss" of the US Army Air Force, Hap Arnold would advise leaders including FDR and Winston Churchill.

His inner circle included famed woman aviator Jackie Cochran and Jimmy Doolittle, an Arnold Family friend since the 1920s. There wasn't much happening in aviation he did not have a hand in. In 1944 he received the rank of Five Star General of the Army, one of only nine men ever to achieve that level in the US Military. In 1949, Congress made him Five Star General of the Air Force making him the only man in history to have that 5 Star rank twice.

Hap and Bee Arnold ended up in Sonoma after Bee, in a 1943 visit, found a 40 acre ranch property the Arnolds dubbed "El Rancho Feliz", a play on Hap Arnold's famous nick name.

Bruce often visited them and fell in love with the Valley. Bruce Arnold was a World War II West Point graduate, who after 1947 moved over to the new US Air Force and spent his career in high technology, retiring as a Colonel in 1972.

n the mid 1980s, Bruce, Barbara and son Robert Arnold founded Chandelle Winery in Sonoma. Bruce's idea was to combine the adventure of flight with medal quality Sonoma wines. He remembered hearing the old flying term Chandelle around the house when a child and so chose it for the name of the winery. An encounter with an old artist friend started Chandelle's Spirit of Flight series of wine bottlings with aviation art labels.

A Bit of History from the Family Collection

Hap Arnold in the Left Seat

The Commanding General Aboard his personal Army transport, an early military model of the DC-3, in 1941.

Taking up a Wright Military Flyer

Hap Arnold at the controls of an Army Wright Flyer at College Park, Maryland about 1912. Every flight set a record and was incredibly dangerous.

Asking Orville

1911 at the Wright's school at Huffman Prarie near Dayton Ohio, LT Hap Arnold goes over a flying maneauver with Orville Wright as LT. Tommy Milling looks on. These were the first two sent by the Army to be trained by the Wrights.

The Boy Engineer

Donald Douglas, Sr. the top aeronautical engineer of his generation, here in the cockpit of one of his ealry biplanes at the Douglas Aircraft Company in Santa Monica, California. Barbara Arnold's father.

Doug, and the World Cruiser

Donald Douglas with his wife Charlotte and the kids incluidng Barbara Arnold in the bonnet. In 1924 "The Chicago" and other Douglas World Cruisers circled the globe, a first for aviaiton. Today this same plane is in the National Air and Space Museum on Washington, D.C.'s mall.

The Santa Monica Production Line

Few realize today that the Douglas DC-2 dominated the airlines world wide and was replaced by the DC-3 over the initial objections of Donald Douglas who had a full order book for years to come.

"I Christen Thee TWA Skysleeper

Barbara Douglas (Arnold) delivering
a DC-3 to TWA in the late 1930s.

Barbara was the daughter of. aircraft designer
Donald Douglas, Sr.

"Welcome home JImmy"

Jimmy Doolittle reports to the Chief after the Tokyo Raid. Bolling Field, Washington, DC, June 27, 1942.

With his "boys" - North Africa, 1943

Getting the straight story and telling them what's ahead; Hap Arnold with the troops, North Africa, 1943.

Hap and the Boss - Casablanca

General Hap Arnold with the boss, President Franklin Roosevelt, in North Africa, 1943.

Patton and Hap - Germany, 1945

Two old friends, General George Patton and Hap Arnold meet in Germany for the 1945 Potsdam Conference.

With Stalin and Churchill

The Teheran Conference, 1943, General Hap Arnold with Churchill and Stalin. He got to know them both, personally during World War II.