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Capturing the essence of the vineyard in a bottle

 

Our Story

 

Crocker & Starr Chronology

1872

James Dowdell buys 25 acres north of Dowdell Lane from the family of deceased Dr. Crane, one of the pioneer winegrowers in the area.

1875

Dowdell buys another 36 acres of land extending east to the river where he plants Zinfandel, Riesling, and hops. Dowdell becomes known as the pioneer hop grower of Napa Valley.

1882

George Skoog constructs the Dowdell homestead, which still stands today, a house that visitors dub “as strong as the Rock of Gibraltar.”

1886

The Dowdell brandy house and winery open, producing 50,000 gallons of wine in its first vintage.

1891

Dowdell establishes the Dowdell & Son winery in partnership with his son Arthur and inaugural vintage is released.

1892

Dowdell & Son operates General E.D. Keyes’ Greystone Cellars. Price of grapes drops to $8-10/ton, Dowdell buys grapes from local producers at $15 and crushes over 4,000 tons of grapes, making up a difference of $20,000-$30,000 to Napa & Sonoma growers and helping to keep the wine industry afloat. The Italian Swiss Colony at Asti in Sonoma leases cooperage from the Dowdell Estate at 9 cents/gallon.

1894

James Dowdell’s wines win acclaim at the California Midwinter World’s Fair hosted in San Francisco.

1895

Dowdell & Son winery closes due to litigation but the vines remain.

1901

James Dowdell & his wife Elizabeth continue growing hops, producing what the St. Helena Star deems the “highest quality (and yield) of hops in the State to date.”

1902

James Dowdell dies at 62 and bequeaths his land to his wife and children.

1960s

Bruce Dohrmann, a San Francisco entrepreneur in the hospitality industry, buys the former Dowdell Estate from the Dowdell family, where he farms grapes, walnuts, oranges and hydroponic tomatoes.

1971

Noted San Franciscan Charlie Crocker purchases the 1870s stone Dowdell & Sons Winery and vineyard from Bruce Dohrmann, renaming it the Crocker Estate.

1978 - 1980

Charlie Crocker plants Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon on the property.

1997

Charlie Crocker and Pam Starr establish Crocker & Starr, resurrecting the historic winemaking estate. Pam becomes Charlie’s partner as well as manager and winemaker and begins transitioning from conventional to organic farming.

1998

Pam plants first Sauvignon Blanc vines at the Crocker Estate works with Larry Hyde to plant the remainder of what will become the “Bridesmaid” blend in the cooler, down-valley Hyde Las Trancas Vineyard to cultivate the best attributes of the Sauvignon Blanc grape.

1999

Crocker & Starr releases its first Cabernet Franc (1997 vintage).

2000

Crocker & Starr releases its 1997 Cabernet Sauvignon, an estate Bordeaux-style blend.

2002

Crocker & Starr releases its first Sauvignon Blanc (2001 vintage).

2005

Crocker & Starr releases its first Bridesmaid Wine (2003 vintage), a Cabernet Sauvignon blend.

2005

Crocker & Starr’s 2004 Sauvignon Blanc is named as the 12th best wine in the world in Wine Spectator’s “Top 100 List.”

2008

The first vintage of Casali Malbec is produced.

2009

Crocker & Starr opens its tasting room, a restored 1918 farmhouse, by appointment. The farmhouse formerly belonged to Martin Smith Hudson & his wife Josephine Mills (the family after which Mills Lane is named), both of whom were contemporary winemakers and neighbors of James Dowdell.

2009

Crocker & Starr’s 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon “Stone Place” is rated 94 points by Robert Parker and 95 points by Gary Vaynerchuk of Wine Library TV.

2010

Crocker & Starr establishes a vineyard wine experience for visitor to “Touch the Vines, Taste the Wines.”

2011

The first Official Annual Carnivus Party is held on Labor Day weekend in honor of Casali Members and Loyalists.

2014

Crocker & Starr receives the permit to build the new winery and plans are drafted for a new production facility on the historic Crocker Estate.

2016

Crocker & Starr opens its new winery just in time for its 20th anniversary. The building was designed by San Francisco architect Taylor Lombardo to harmonize the property’s history with Pam Starr’s innovative approach to winemaking.

2017

Crocker & Starr releases the inaugural vintage of 1 Post Cabernet Sauvignon to commemorate the partnership between Pam Starr and Charlie Crocker. Crocker & Starr Sauvignon Blanc becomes entirely estate-sourced. 

2018

Crocker & Starr releases third estate Cabernet Sauvignon, Rock, Loam, Clay or ‘RLC.’ The Bridesmaid line of wines is rebranded to AVA Napa Valley Blends, with a new label featuring a bouquet found in a 1950’s Sears & Roebuck catalogue, tying the estate blend to the history of the estate coincidentally, as an original Sears & Roebuck kit home is on Charlie’s estate.

2019

Evyn Cameron is promoted to Winemaker at Crocker & Starr.