Rombauer Vineyards was established in 1980, when the Rombauer family harvested their first grapes — Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley’s Stags Leap District. Decades later, the winery remains family owned and operated with members of the second and third generations involved in the business.
When founders Koerner and Joan Rombauer moved their two children, two horses and five dogs to Napa Valley in 1972, they had no intention of starting a winery. They chose the area because it reminded them of the small-town, agricultural environment in which they had grown up, and it appeared to be a clean, safe place to raise their children. They purchased 17 acres of beautiful hilltop land on the Silverado Trail near the town of St. Helena.
The Rombauers did have a great appreciation for the role of wine in the fine dining experience. Koerner’s great aunt Irma Rombauer was the author of the internationally renowned cookbook
the Joy of Cooking, and Koerner’s ancestors were from the winegrowing region of Rheingau, Germany, where wine is considered an essential complement to a meal. It didn’t take long for Koerner and Joan to become fascinated with the growing Napa Valley wine industry. In 1976, the same year as the famed Judgment of Paris, they became partners in Conn Creek Winery.
There, Koerner learned the wine business first in the cellar, working hand in hand with the winemaker and learning all phases of winery operations. In 1980, the Rombauers sold their interest in Conn Creek Winery and decided to invest of a winery of their own. That year, they harvested their first grapes, marking the beginning of Rombauer Vineyards. The first wines were produced at Shafer Vineyards and in Koerner’s garage, which was bonded as a winery for the purpose. In 1982, the Rombauer family broke ground for construction of a winery on the property adjacent to their home.
Today, under the direction of Director of Winemaking and Viticulture Richie Allen, Rombauer Vineyards combines traditional viticultural and winemaking practices with the best available technology to ensure the highest quality wine production. The winery produces critically acclaimed Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Zinfandel and Sauvignon Blanc.