ESTATE GROWN IN THE STAGS LEAP DISTRICT
Dick Steltzner, a third generation Californian, was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area and, as many early California families, had ties to farmland. It is from these experiences that the seeds of farming experience and viticulture impregnated this young mind.
Owner & Proprietor
Graduating from college with a Masters Degree in Fine Arts, he embarked upon an artist's life in a studio located on Lodi Lane, north of St. Helena. A crossroads was reached in 1964 that required either moving to San Francisco to continue pursuit of his artistic endeavors or changing careers to stay in the Napa Valley. Choosing farming, a small tract of land was purchased in what is now called the Stags Leap District and he began growing grapes by drawing on his childhood experiences from his mentor, Ernest Wente. With some degree of success, knowledge and expertise, he soon found himself planting and caring for vineyards of others.
Dick established Al Brounstein's Diamond Creek Vineyard, Mike Robbins' Spring Mountain vineyards, Bernard Portet's Clos du Val Wine Company Ltd., along with many new vineyards fo the Doctors, Lawyers and Indian Chiefs who were finding the beauty and romance of the Napa Valley in the early 1970's. By 1975, the vineyard management business was farming 450 acres in 22 separate locations. 1976 and 1977 were dramatic years due to an unusual drought that changed grape purchasing patterns. Having built a reputation of high quality grapes from his Stags Leap vineyard, he found himself unable to supply his traditional customers and was confronted with some unsold grapes in 1977. Dick's vineyards management at this time included Markham Vineyards. Bruce Markham was establishing his own new winery and graciously assisted Dick in allowing him to make wine in a corner of his facility. This continued for a period of five years when Markham's crush volumes led to the necessity of Dick establishing his own facility on his property in the Stags Leap District. Starting in a converted 1915 prune dehydrating shed at the 3,000 case level the winery slowly expanded to 6,000 case crush by 1991. Today at Steltzner Vineyards, you will find their new underground wine storage caves, a Mediterranean style winery building with an observation and clock tower, and now crushing over 20,000 cases.
The years of vineyards management taught Dick to understand the diverse mesoclimate and soil in the Napa Valley and allowed him to acquire some choice properties that now amount to nearly 100 acres. These vineyards have the productive capability for approximately 25,000 cases. While growing into this capacity, Dick still sells grapes to long-standing friends who make these grapes into part of their winery cuvee.