Don Richards “D. R.” Stephens – Founder
On graduating from college at University of Southern California, Don 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, instilled in him a long-term goal of making great wine.
The desire stayed with him through his business career and in 1996 Don, who eventually became commonly known as “D. R.,” purchased a 35-acre property on Howell Mountain Road in the Saint Helena AVA of Napa Valley and the opportunity became available to realize that life-long thirst to make top-quality wine with a focus on his two favorite varieties Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay. He planted 7.5 acres of vines on what he named Moose Valley Vineyard after his fond nickname for his wife, The Moose.
1999 marked the first vintage of both bottlings with 550 cases of Cabernet Sauvignon and 140 cases of Chardonnay.
D. R. passed away on February 25, 2020. Justin carries on the D. R. Stephens Estate tradition in memory of his father.