It was founded in 1982 by Dr. Don Panoz who came from the pharmaceutical industry. The Winery also hosts two dining establishments including a French restaurant and a Mediterranean style restaurant. In addition the Winery features the Viking Culinary Studio, a purpose built facility which hosts cooking classes and cooking demonstrations.
The resort also functions as an inn with 257 rooms, 25,000 sq. ft conference center, multiple indoor and outdoor wedding venues, golf club with three 18 hole golf courses and 9-hole par 3 course, day and overnight spa facilities, seven restaurants, art gallery, a wine market and wine tastings.
The vineyards are currently growing primarily Muscadine grapes. A special section of the vineyard located behind the Winery is currently experimenting different hybrids and American native varieties such as Edelweiss, Foch, and Norton. Vinus vinifera grapes are grown by small vineyard farms in northern California with whom Chateau Élan has long term growing agreements. The Winery is currently producing its 2014 wines and is currently selling it's 2013 wines including Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Belle Reserve (a white blend, primarily Viognier), Brut Sparkling Reserve, Moscato D'Asti D.O.C.G., Pinot Noir, Velvet (a red blend, Zinfandel and Tannat), Scarlet (a red blend, Sangiovese and Syrah), Merlot, Barbera D'Asti D.O.C.G., Cabernet Sauvignon, American Port Riserva and Muscadine wines which include Duncan Creek, and three fruit infused variations Summer Wine (peach), Spring Blossom (strawberry), and Autumn Blush (raspberry). In 2012, three additional Muscadine wines were vinted featuring a drier version of the Muscadine wine called Muscadry, a rose version known as Muscadry Pink, and a more traditional muscadine wine produced as a dark rose, called Duncan Creek Red (not a true red).