Rombauer Vineyards was founded in 1980 by Koerner and Joan Rombauer and sits on a tree covered knoll overlooking the Napa Valley. The winery features caves that extend for over a mile into the hillside. The caves provide a constant temperature and humidity which result in optimum conditions for aging their wines. With over 30 years of winemaking experience in the Napa Valley, the family is dedicated to their land and community. Koerner Rombauer oversees the daily operations. Daughter, Sheana manages promotional marketing, wine clubs and special events while son, KR Rombauer III directs the national sales team. Together the Rombauer family is committed to producing and marketing wine of superior quality.
Technology and Quality: Rombauer Vineyards first and foremost makes their wine in the vineyard. Not only do they own vineyards, but they work with small, premium growers with which they have a strong relationship. They only source fruit from their estate vineyards and their grower partners, even in poor vintages where the yields are smaller than normal. In addition to the work in the vineyards, Rombauer is using some pretty awesome technology to ensure quality. First, they have not one but two optical fruit sorters. For each harvest, and each grape, they can select the size, shape, and color down to the pixel of the perfect grape that should go into the wine. The sorters select only those grapes that match the chosen criteria. Rombauer is one of the few wineries that have this technology. Secondly, Rombauer uses aerial infra red photography called NDVI (normalized difference vigor index) to map the vineyard canopies. These have a 1 meter resolution so individual vines can be separated into groups, so only sections of the vineyard are picked when ready.
About the Winemaker: Richie Allen was raised in Melbourne, Australia, in a leafy suburb approximately 40 minutes east of Australia’s infamous wine region, the Yarra Valley. Influenced greatly by his parent’s keen interest, Richie grew up with a greater appreciation of wine than the average young Australian male. Upon graduation from high school in 1996, Richie chose to explore his knowledge in an alternate area of interest: Molecular Biology. Always the model student, he graduated at the top of his class. He was not, however, convinced with the path he was laying down for himself.
Richie embarked on a four-month rock climbing holiday to the United States to clear his thoughts. It was on this adventure that fate came knocking in the form of an invitation to a day of wine tasting. Richie was so taken and inspired by the Californian wines he tasted that day that it was suddenly clear to him what he needed to do. He promptly returned to Australia and spent the next few years engrossed in winemaking studies at Australia’s prestigious ‘The University of Adelaide’. After graduating in 2003, he then set about gaining as much practical winery experience as possible from top Australian and New Zealand producers including: Penfolds, Oakridge, Church Road and Vavasour.
He eventually found himself back in California, on the doorstep of Rombauer Vineyards to undertake cellar work for a single harvest. However, Richie’s enthusiasm, vast and growing knowledge, and attention to detail were keenly identified, and he was asked to continue on at Rombauer to see this potential expertly developed and nurtured. Having worked his way from the ground up, Richie now assumes the position of Rombauer’s Head Winemaker. In this role, Richie strives to achieve consistency of style and continual improvement in winemaking techniques by melding both traditional and modern approaches. Away from the winery, you’re likely to find Richie pursuing his passion for rock climbing.
Rombauer 2013 Chardonnay voted #35 in Wine Spectator's Top 100 Wines of 2015
"When it comes to California Chardonnay, Rombauer sets the bar for charming, easy-to-drink wines. Sangiacomo Vineyards, which sprawls across 800 acres in Carneros, anchors the blend. A variety of clones and vineyard locations are blended to yield the panoply of flavors that contributes to Rombauer's vibrant, fruity style, while nine months in French and American oak and frequent lees stirring add the signature creamy texture."