Angela Channing (Patricia Clarkson) is the proprietress of Falcon Crest, a Napa Valley winery her grandfather built. Falcon Crest is a small, family-run operation and Angela wants to keep it that way. Angela's brother, Jason, is the co-owner of Falcon Crest. Jason is an alcoholic with mental health issues. Angela does her best to look after her brother (keeping a promise she made to her parents) but it's obvious Jason needs professional help. When Jason is killed in a tragic accident, Angela is overcome with feelings of grief and guilt. Jason leaves his half of the winery to his estranged son, Chase. Chase and his family arrive to attend Jason's funeral. Chase sees the opportunity to profit from Falcon Crest. Chase considers selling his share to a conglomerate, or at least updating the operation. Angela's grandson, Lance, likes Chase's ideas causing a rift between him and Angela. Chase's son Cole is sympathetic to Angela who takes him under her wing and teaches him how to be a vintner. Up until now, Angela's main rival has been the ambitious and ruthless Carlo Agretti. Carlo's daughter, Melissa, was once in love with Lance but the feud between the two families brought an end to their affair. When Melissa meets Cole the two are immediately attracted to each other - provoking feelings of jealousy from Lance. Chase's wife Maggie and their daughter, Vickie, resent Chase's decision to suddenly uproot the family and move to the Napa Valley. Vickie rebels against her parents while Maggie befriends Angela's children Julia, Emma and - especially - Richard.