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Capturing the essence of the vineyard in a bottle

Charlie Crocker


Charlie Crocker, co-owner of Crocker & Starr and owner of the Crocker Estate, descends from one of California’s old families. His great grandfather, also Charlie Crocker, spearheaded construction of the Central Pacific railroad, completed in 1868, which began the extraordinary growth that transformed California into an economic powerhouse.

A San Francisco businessman, Charlie has had a life-long love affair with the Napa Valley as well as an enduring interest in wine. In 1971, Charlie and his wife Lucinda acquired the historic Dowdell property in St. Helena that included both vineyards and old stone buildings from the 1870s, and decided to bring it back to life. Charlie began by replanting and selling grapes, making wine for family and developing vineyards he sold to other wineries.

Desiring to complete the resurrection of the old wine estate, in 1997 Charlie established Crocker & Starr with Pam Starr whose Bordeaux-style wine he greatly admired. During his many years in business, Charlie founded, managed and grew two public technology companies. The first, BEI Technologies, specialized in high tech electronic sensors, including those developed to provide electronic stability control in automobiles. Today electronic stability control is required in every car sold in the United States. The second, BEI Medical Systems, developed sensor based proprietary medical devices for women’s health care. A few years ago, Charlie sold both companies and today he serves as director of a number of public and private companies and charitable organizations in the Bay Area.

Charlie was born in San Francisco and earned a Bachelor of Science degree at Stanford and an MBA from the University of California at Berkeley. He divides his time between his home in San Francisco and the Crocker Estate in St. Helena. In the wine country one will find him walking the vineyard, driving his 1966 Ford truck, running a tractor or enjoying a glass of Crocker & Starr wine with his family.


Pam Starr

Owner and Winemaker

Pam Starr has been the co-owner, manager and winemaker of Crocker & Starr since its inception in 1997 when she helped resurrect the vineyards on the Crocker Estate in St. Helena and established a winery to create world-class wines. After toiling as a winery employee for 18 years, Pam’s transformation at a relatively young age into owner, manager and winemaker was unique and remarkable. It required a special mix of skill, passion and dedication. All of which describe Pam Starr.

Pam’s love affair with winemaking began as a harvest intern for Sonoma Cutrer in Sonoma after graduating from the University of California at Davis in 1984 with a degree in Fermentation Science. Headed down a different path, the daughter of an orthopedic surgeon who was planning to go to dental school quickly switched gears. Attracted by the fast pace, the pleasures of working the land and the wine itself, Pam knew she’d found her calling. “I was simply smitten – the way one is when falling madly in love. Winemaking is mysterious, it’s sexy, it’s magical.” And it’s been her life since.

After the internship, Pam worked for Edna Valley Vineyard in San Luis Obispo stacking barrels for a season. Her dream of becoming a winemaker began to take shape. For the next six years she was an enologist and assistant winemaker for Carmenet Winery in Sonoma, a job that taught her how to run a winery from cellar to bottle. In 1991, she became the winemaker for Spottswoode Vineyard & Winery in Napa Valley where she worked until she and Charlie Crocker established Crocker & Starr and she built the foundation of the business. At the same time Crocker & Starr opened its doors, Pam began wine consulting for Adastra Vineyard in the Carneros, Gemstone Vineyard in Yountville and Garric Cellars of Calistoga, among others.

Passionate about translating terroir into wine, Pam is known for her distinctive Bordeaux-style blends that express a deep sense of place. For this enthusiastic and inspired winemaker who views her job as translating soil into wine, great wine must taste of the sun, of the earth it comes from and of the place it grows.

Pam is a member of the Napa Valley Vintners, Appellation St. Helena, American Society of Enology and Viticulture, Concierge Alliance Napa Valley and Wine Entre Femme, an international consortium of women winemakers. She is married, lives in Napa and embraces mountain biking, scuba diving, water skiing, sailing, gardening and motorcycling wine roads with her husband. Pam’s dog Griffin, a Wirehaired Pointing Griffon, is her loyal vineyard companion.