Don and Trish Stephens – Partners
On graduating from college at University of Southern California, Don Stephens moved from Sacramento, where he had grown up, to San Francisco to attend Hastings Law School.
To pay for his education he and some partners started a restaurant on Union Street – a steak house named “The Cooperage.” The attraction of good red wine, particularly Cabernet Sauvignon, combined with a steak, gave him the long-term goal of becoming a vintner and making great wines.
The desire stayed with him through his business career as a lawyer; Founder, Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of the Bank of San Francisco and Managing Partner of D. R. Stephens & Company – a firm he founded in 1973 and still manages today in the real estate and private equity investment business.
Trish, an interior designer and gourmet cook, prides herself on her entertaining, a key element of which in San Francisco, is wine selection. When she and Don met in 1994 one of their joint interests was to some day create a world-class wine.
In 1996 Don and Trish found Oz II, their 35-acre property on Howell Mountain Road in the Saint Helena area of the Napa Valley, and an opportunity became available to attain their dream. Trish designed and built their French-European home on a four-acre plateau above the vineyards and indigenous olive trees.
Don and Trish planted the nine-acre Moose Valley Vineyard in 1996 and had their first release of their 1999 D. R. Stephens Estate Moose Valley Cabernet Sauvignon in 2002.
The wine was extremely well received in the food and restaurant world and was immediately added to the wine lists of some of the best restaurants in many of the major cities.