Sterling Vineyards Founded
Sterling Vineyards is founded in 1964 by British International paper broker, Oxford University graduate, and former London Financial Times writer Peter Newton. Impressed with the quality of Californian wines and inspired by the beauty of the Napa Valley, Newton decided to broaden the business interests of his company, Sterling International, with the purchase of a 50-acre parcel of established vineyard bordering Calistoga.
Napa Valley Terrior
Sterling Vineyards acquires additional upper valley property, including Bear Flats and Bothe Ranch, adjacent to St. Helena. Both are planted with new vines. Although Cabernet Sauvignon is the most popular grape variety grown in the Napa Valley at this time, Peter Newton decides to cultivate Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and the regions first significant planting of Merlot. This is considered a bold and innovative leap of faith in the local terroir.
Sterling Vineyards bottles the first vintage-dated Merlot in California. Prior to this, Merlot had been widely considered only for use as a blending varietal. This is also the winery’s first vintage of Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc.
Martin Waterfield, an officer of Newton’s company designs a starkly beautiful, Mediterranean-style white stucco winery complex, inspired by the structures on the Greek island of Mykonos, where Peter Newton once lived.
The new winery is ready for harvest and formally opened to the public for a gala benefit for the San Francisco Symphony.
Sterling acquires its Rutherford vineyards and the highly regarded Diamond Mountain Ranch Vineyard.
Sterling acquires Rene di Rosa’s prestigious 250-acre Carneros property, Winery Lake, and introduces Winery Lake Chardonnay and Pinot Noir in 1988.
Wine Spectator Top 100
Sterling earns back-to-back-to-back honors in Wine Spectator’s Top 100 Wines of the Year
1985 Sterling Three Palms Vineyard Merlot, #76 Wine of the Year in 1988
1985 Sterling Reserve Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, #14 Wine of the Year in 1989
1986 Sterling Reserve Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, #32 Wine of the Year in 1990
Sterling undergoes a six-phase, multi-million dollar improvement project, including complete renovations for the crushing and press area at the top of the hill, the visitor center and the tour and tramway facilities. The beautifully appointed new facilities are unveiled to the public in June 2002 when Sterling hosts the prestigious annual Napa Valley Wine Auction Barrel Tasting.
Harry Hansen joins Sterling Vineyards as Winemaker.
Sterling becomes the official wine of the 68th Annual Emmy Awards in 2016 and the official wine of the 23rd Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards in 2017.
Today Sterling is one of the most visited wineries in the Napa Valley.