Diamond Creek Vineyards
A brief history
Meet The Winemakers
Undoubtedly, Phil Steinschriber's career took off as the Winemaker for Diamond Creek Vineyards (since 1991 till presently)View More
However, Phil has been in and around the beverage industry since he was about the age of 12. His father and mother both survived concentration camps in Poland and Germany. With 7th grade educations they came to this country seeking new lives. They bought a small farm in New Jersey and became chicken farmers (where Phil spent his early years). When the chicken farm failed, they packed up the family in their Plymouth and trailer and moved to California. With the little money they had they purchased a small liquor store in Los Angeles, California.
Phil helped his father out in the store selling such items as Thunderbird, Annie Green Springs and MD 20 20. Thus he began to wonder about what good wine might be like. Phil received his bachelor's degree from UCLA in 1973. In 1974 he decided to travel and took off for Europe with a one way ticket and a few dollars in his pocket. He hitched up with some people in Amsterdam, and traveled through Europe visiting such countries as Greece, Italy and France. He thought the countryside was very beautiful with the old vines and vineyards and enjoyed the many wines that he tried while traveling in the back seat of the combi VW van. He returned home about a year later and went into business with his father, not realizing back then how important those travels were to his future.
After becoming the wine buyer for his father's store, Phil had the opportunity to learn more and more about the wine industry. By 1979 his interest was piqued enough to spur him on to pursue a career in winemaking. He began taking chemistry courses and later transferred to Fresno State University where he earned his master's degree in Agricultural Chemistry. In 1983 he was offered a position with a company in the Golan Heights of Israel to produce kosher wines in the modern California style. He took the position and was mentored by Peter Stern who has an international consulting firm. While there he met Al and Boots Brounstein of Diamond Creek Vineyards. While conversing, Phil suggested he should go to work for them. Al thought it was a joke and laughed it off.
After two years in Israel, Phil returned to the US and took a position as winemaker in Albuquerque, New Mexico for a short stint. In 1986 he returned to California and came to the Napa Valley becoming the winemaker for Napa Creek Winery. In the winter of 1990 Phil again saw Al Brounstein. Again, he asked if Al had something for him and this time, being intrigued, Al said yes, he did.
Phil became the winemaker for Al on February 1st, 1991 and worked with Jerry Luper who was the consultant at the time. Phil continues to produce superior wines for Diamond Creek Vineyards with many wines scoring between 90 and to 100 points from many wine critics. He produces the Diamond Creek wines today, after setting a tone of softer wines in the 90's and rounder more complex wines in the 2000's. He strives today to make better and better wines by manipulating the vineyards and using modern techniques in wine making.
WaterMark is Phil's own venture and includes a Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, Mt Veeder Cabernets, and will have an estate vineyard designated Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon when his and his wife's vineyard bears fruit .
Diamond Creek Vineyards Wines
North-facing Red Rock Terrace is a steeply terraced vineyard. The rocky, red-tinted soil is high in oxidized iron content, and because of its northerly aspect, the grapes receive less direct sunlight. With one of the estate’s warmest microclimates, Red Rock Terrace is typically the second wine to be tasted in a line-up of Diamond Creek’s four Cabernets Sauvignon.
Gravelly Meadow is a relatively flat site that was once a pre-historic riverbed. Situated in one of the cooler microclimates on the Diamond Creek estate, the vineyard possesses pebbly, porous brown soils which drain rapidly, compelling the vines to struggle for moisture. Gravelly Meadow Cabernet Sauvignon is typically the first to be tasted in the line-up of Diamond Creek Cabernets.
Volcanic Hill is a south-facing hillside vineyard. The consistency of the gray soil is that of light, fluffy, volcanic ash, originally deposited from the eruption of Mt. Konocti eight million years ago. Sitting in one of the estate’s warmer microclimates, the site typically produces Diamond Creek’s most powerful and long-lived wine, typically the third wine to be tasted in the line-up of Diamond Creek’s four Cabernet Sauvignons.
Lake is Diamond Creek’s smallest and coolest vineyard site, sitting at the western edge of the property on loose, gravelly soil. With its exposure to breezes coming through Mayacamas Canyon, this is the estate’s coolest area, and the Cabernet Sauvignon here is extraordinary, benefiting from extended hang time on the vine. We only produce a Lake Cabernet Sauvignon in exceptional years, and the grapes are typically harvested more than a month from the beginning of vendange. When produced, it is the last wine to be tasted in the line-up of Diamond Creek Cabernets.