Masson emigrated from the Burgundy region of France in 1878 to California, United States, where he met Charles Lefranc, one of a number of French immigrants who had expanded the viticulture introduced into the Santa Clara Valley by the Catholic mission fathers. Masson went back to France in 1880, but later returned to California due to the depression in the French wine industry caused by the Phylloxera plague. According to the Paul Masson company web site, in 1892 Masson's first sparkling wine under the name "champagne" was introduced at Almaden, and Masson eventually became known as the "Champagne King of California". Masson is buried at Oak Hill Memorial Park in San Jose.
Paul Masson winery and brand
Masson shifted part of his production to the Santa Cruz Mountains above Saratoga, California and built his "chateau" on a knob overlooking the Santa Clara Valley in 1905. Now known as "The Mountain Winery", the Paul Masson Mountain Winery is on the National Park Service's National Register of Historic Places. Various events are held at the winery, such as concert series, weddings, and other special events. A famous chess tournament was held there annually for a number of years in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
The Paul Masson winery and brand were owned for many years by The Seagram Company, Ltd, the global wine and spirits company (along with minority share owners). In the 1980s, Seagram also acquired the Taylor California Cellars brand (and production facilities) from Coca-Cola, based on the premise promoted by then Seagram Strategic Planning head, Mary Cunningham, that the only way to succeed in the wine business was to approach Gallo's massive sales volume. Over the next twenty years, the wine industry would dramatically segment itself with, essentially, all the large volume brands falling by the wayside. Internal competition and resulting cannibalization dramatically reduced the combined sales of Paul Masson and Taylor (as it did with Almaden and Inglenook, also owned by a single parent company), which were sold to Vintners International in 1987. Vintners was in turn purchased by Centera Wine Company (formerly "Canandaigua") in 1993 as part of Vintner's bankruptcy proceedings. Canandaigua was renamed Constellation Brands in 2000.
In 2008, Wine Group LLC of San Francisco purchased Paul Masson and two other California wine brands. 
The Paul Masson brand is best remembered for its 1970s marketing association with Orson Welles, who promised for Masson: "We will sell no wine before its time." An infamous outtake for one commercial from the Orson Welles campaign features Welles attempting to deliver his lines while very severely inebriated.
- Paul Masson Mountain Winery National Park Service. Retrieved from on 2004-12-28
- Lawrence M. Fisher (12 May 1990). "A Troubled Winery Where Debt Is Aging". New York Times. Retrieved 2007-11-13.
- Lawrence M. Fisher (16 September 1993). "Canandaigua to Acquire Vintners". New York Times. Retrieved 2007-11-13.
- Wine Group buys Almaden, Inglenook brands, Paul Masson winery, for $134M San Francisco Business Times