Miner Family Winery
Tucked into the eastern hills of the Oakville appellation, squarely within the heart of Napa Valley, Miner Family Winery is the culmination of the story and the vision of owners Dave and Emily Miner. Following a number of years spent working in the software industry, Dave Miner began his journey in the wine industry in 1993 as President of Oakville Ranch Vineyards, owned by his late uncle Robert Miner. Dave was mentored by his uncle Bob, who tutored him in the appreciation of wines from around the world. Bob inspired Dave and instilled in him the belief in quality and detail in making wine. Having spent years as an enthusiastic wine consumer and collector, Dave had a natural affinity for the business.
Emily Miner, a Minnesota transplant and graduate of Santa Clara University, fell in love with Napa during breaks from school. She worked for a fine wine distributor in Minneapolis after graduation and quickly realized that winters in Minnesota were no longer much fun. In 1994, she packed up and headed back to California and shortly after joined Oakville Ranch as the Tasting Room Manger. It was there, Dave and Emily met, fell in love, purchased the winery and were married in 1999, the same year they debuted Miner’s inaugural 1996 vintage. Joining Dave and Emily, in 1997, was winemaker, Gary Brookman. Originally cutting his teeth making wine in 1980 at Joseph Phelps Vineyards, Gary has worked with a myriad of varietals, constantly refining his skills with each passing harvest.
Dave and Emily Miner oversee operations at Miner Family Vineyards, and on any given day you will find them in the tasting room, sharing their passion with visitors and making sure everyone has a wonderful experience at Miner. While making wine is a serious business, it’s the enjoyment of the end product that is most important to Dave, Emily and the rest of the winery family.
In addition to winery-owned vineyards, Gary & Dave identified, sought and secured a number of California’s finest vineyard sites, but only those allowing them complete farming control. It is this level of detail and control, from vine to wine, that ensures a wine’s consistency and quality. Each wine at Miner is crafted in a style to encapsulate the distinctive elements and the indelible fingerprints of their respective vineyards. This combination of excellent vineyard sites along with passionate and thoughtful winemaking injects the necessary components for creating profoundly joyful wines. The Miners continue to create authentic, elegant and complex wines from a handful of high quality vineyards in Napa Valley and beyond. The next chapter will be left to Dave and Emily’s two energetic daughters, Sofie and Calla, who have a few vintages yet to grow into the family business but will no doubt be raised with a deep understanding and appreciation of the history, the culture, and the people that make Miner wines so fantastically unique.
Gary Brookman has been at the helm of production at Miner for more than a decade. He serendipitously discovered his true calling during a post-college stint working a harvest in Australia’s McLaren Vale. After making his way to Napa Valley, Gary honed his winemaking skills during a thirteen-year tenure at Joseph Phelps Vineyards and three harvests at Franciscan. Following a chance encounter with Dave Miner, Gary was welcomed on as Miner’s winemaker in 1997. A diligent student of his craft, Gary works closely with each of our growers and alongside Dave to fine-tune and elevate the quality of Miner wines with each passing vintage. Gary manages to find balance making twenty-five plus bottlings at Miner, including his eponymous label. Hitting the back roads for a rigorous bike ride or hiking in the Sierras with his wife Joan is reserved for downtime. Since his first crush down under, Gary remains captivated by winemaking’s unique blend of art and science. By seeking out the finest vineyard sources and crafting wines in critical pursuit of bottled harmony, Gary is truly able to capture the essence of the land. Originally from southern California,
Gary lives in St. Helena with his wife Joan, and their two children.
Built in 1995, the winery was constructed for use as a custom crush facility by the original owner. Dave and Emily Miner took possession of the winery and launched the Miner Family Winery brand in 1998. Capable of producing approximately 100,000 cases, the 8,500 square foot winery includes 20,000 square feet of caves for barrel aging and storage.
Napa Valley is one of the most beautiful places on earth. Miner’s vision to preserve the land and become powered by solar energy was realized in January 2009, when Dave flipped the switch inaugurating Miner’s photovoltaic system. The Miner array is one of the largest projects to date installed in the Napa Valley that balances environmental respect and the aesthetics of the natural landscape. Miner runs exclusively on solar power.
The world’s most legendary wines are inextricably linked to their vineyard source. This fact makes vineyard selection essential to the winemaking philosophy at Miner Family Vineyards. Miner establishes solid relationships with its growers that allow them input on farming practices and flexibility during harvest. The result is a diverse collection of vineyard-designated bottlings born out of respect for the land and those that care for it.
Carved from enormous rocks and boulders high atop the eastern hills of Napa Valley, Stagecoach Vineyard is one of the most ambitious – and highly regarded – sources of Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Chardonnay, Merlot, and Syrah. Situated more than 1,500 feet above sea level, this mountainous site straddling the Oakville and Atlas Peak appellations was planted in 1992 by Dr. Jan Krupp. Its narrowly spaced vines struggle in the rocky soil but benefit from extended sunlight hours, yielding fruit with uncommon color, depth, and complexity.
Third-generation grower Bob Gibson meticulously maintains the Gibson Ranch vineyard in Mendocino County, which his grandmother planted to Sangiovese. Gibson makes multiple passes through the vertical trellised vineyards at harvest, ensuring that the ripe grapes are of the highest possible quality.
The Santa Lucia Highlands rise above the Salinas River, inland, just southwest of Monterey. Here, the breezy, cool and relatively dry growing season is typically four weeks longer than most in California, ideal for cultivating rich, mature Pinot Noir. Partners Gary Franscioni and Gary Pisoni have planted numerous vineyards in these foothills, tending to each with uncompromising attention to detail. Selecting choice sites up and down the Salinas valley, they have planted a variety of different vines wherever they have found optimal conditions. Named after the partners, Garys’ is a unique hillside vineyard – with vines grafted over to original budwood surreptitiously obtained from one of Burgundy’s most prized vineyards – offering a nod to Burgundy with its long, cool, growing season. Garys’ defines the concept of terroir relative to Pinot Noir and, as a result, consistently produces some of the most sought-after fruit in California. The 50-acre Rosella’s Vineyard – named for Gary Franscioni’s wife – is located just up the river from Garys’ and planted to the same La Tache clone as Garys’ Vineyards with also a small amount planted to Dijon clones.
Miner Family Viognier comes from the Simpson Vineyards of famed grower and vintner John Simpson in California’s Central Valley. Simpson has devoted himself to growing Viognier in California and has evolved into one of its most prominent producers. A dedicated grower and enthusiast of this Rhone varietal – once almost forgotten in this country – Simpson coaxes the finest personalities and tropical characteristics from his vineyards in Madera. His low-yielding vineyards produce grapes of substantial flavor and concentration.
A unique and endearing partnership with master luthier Robert Benedetto has allowed Dave Miner to combine two of his favorite artistic passions ¬– wines and guitars. Dave was taken by the look, feel and sound of the jazz guitar before taking his first sip of wine. He played the acoustic guitar starting at age 13. During his college years in San Diego, Dave sought out rare guitars—and wines—worthy of collecting.
In 2003, Dave commissioned master luthier Robert Benedetto to handcraft a custom guitar. This stunning hand-carved archtop was stained using Miner Cabernet Sauvignon and features the Miner wings with a grapevine inlay motif in abalone and mother-of-pearl; now known as the original Vinodetto, it is the first in a series of wine-stained guitars made exclusively for Dave. Cementing their relationship, Dave became an investor when Benedetto made the decision to open a flagship store and workshop in Savannah, Georgia. Additionally, since 2006, Dave also sits on the Benedetto Board of Directors and takes great pleasure in being a part of yet another venture that he’s very passionate about.
Miner Family Winery is located just north of the town of Yountville. If you are traveling north on the Silverado Trail, we’re a quarter of a mile north of the Oakville Crossroad on the right hand (east) side of the road. If you are on highway 29 driving north, make a right at the Oakville Crossroad (just before the Oakville Grocery). When you reach the Silverado Trail turn left (north) and proceed a quarter of a mile. You’ll find us waiting for you on the right hand side of the road. We’re clearly marked by signs. Appointments are not necessary to visit.