Our History

 

McKenzie-Mueller Vineyards and Winery History

McKenzie-Mueller is a small, family-run winery committed to making high quality wines.  Founded in 1989 by Bob Mueller and Karen McKenzie, our fifty acre estate is tucked away in the enchanting Los Carneros region of southern Napa County.  We made our first vintage in 1990, producing 500 cases.  We now produce 2500 cases a year.  We are proud to be named Estate Winery of the Year in 2000 by Wine & Spirits magazine.

Bob and Karen were both raised in the Napa Valley, where Bob grew up working the family farm.  After Bob graduated from UC Davis, he and Karen met over a vat of Zinfandel grapes, and it's been love, wine and kids ever since!  To say that our winery is a family operation would be an understatement.  Our five children have each helped out in winery operations, and the handful of employees who aren't directly related to us have become family over the years.  Bob is the wine grower and wine maker, and Karen has made it all possible wearing her different hats: homemaker, office manager, and tour and tasting guide.  Now a high school art teacher, her love of people and approachable style continue to guide McKenzie-Mueller winery.

Our goal is to have fun, farm in harmony with nature, and make delicious, hand-crafted wine that you will enjoy with family and friends.  We'd love for you to be a part of our family; please call to arrange a visit!

Our Vineyards

All of our wines are Estate produced and bottled, and come from our two vineyards: Big Ranch Road in Oak Knoll and Los Carneros.

Settled at the southern end of the Oak Knoll District, our Big Ranch Road vineyard has been home to our Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc grapes since 1979.  Formerly a prune orchard, the soil is rich, deep and loamy.  The gentle slopes and warm temperature create an environment that makes this AVA famous for lush red wines.

Our Los Carneros vineyard is nestled in the rolling hills north of the San Pablo Bay, the northern-most part of the San Francisco Bay.  The cooler temperatures and shallow topsoil combine to create the potential for high quality wines.  As the vines struggle to survive in the heavy clay subsoil, the maritime influence allows the grapes a longer hang time, giving them softer tannins and more developed flavors.  The Los Carneros AVA is renowned for producing world-class Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, and is where we grow our Pinot Grigio, Pinot Noir, Merlot and Malbec as well as Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon.

Our Philosophy and Style

We began as wine growers--farmers who wanted to produce grapes that would make great wines.  With Bob as the wine grower, vineyard manager, and winemaker, we feel we embody the combination of agriculture and winemaking that used to be so prevalent in the Napa Valley.

We are committed to using farming practices that leave the softest impact on the soil and land.  We are helped in our efforts by the owls and hawks who continue to inhabit the eucalyptus trees surrounding our estate, keeping watch over our vines and eliminating predators that would feast on young vines.

Every part of our operation is done by hand, from the planting and pruning, to the harvesting and selecting.  Our fermentation techniques vary according to the varietals, but all fermentation occurs either in stainless steel tanks or 1/2 ton open-top fermenters.  After fermentation, all red wines go to oak barrels, and all whites are housed in either stainless steel tanks or neutral barrels.  All of our wines are bottled unfiltered.  We are uncompromising in our methods, and the result is wine that is an authentic expression of the vineyard and the fruit.

 

Copyright 2005 McKenzie-Mueller Vineyards and Winery