Partners Gavin Newson, Gordon Getty and John Conover, with their success at PlumpJack and CADE Estate Wineries, were open to the possibility of a third winery. In the fall of 2011, an opportunity to round out their trio of wineries presented itself in the form of a historic property in the Stags Leap District – this prime piece of land would be the future site of Odette Estate Winery.
The 45-acre estate, originally purchased by the Steltzner family in 1964 – was tucked into the dramatic palisades of the Stags Leap District, just east of Silverado Trail. After purchasing the property, Richard and Christine Steltzner converted the open land to vineyards in 1970 and sold the grapes on property through their own vineyard management company. The Steltzner vineyard was the second in the district planted to cabernet sauvignon grapes, following one planted in the 1960s by Nathan Fay, now owned by Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars. It wasn’t until 1977 that the Steltzner’s realized the potential of their Stags Leap District property and decided to make their own wine.
In 1980, the first 500 cases of wine from the property were released under the Steltzner Vineyards label. The brand produced a wide variety of wines, including Bordeaux varieties and Syrah. Over the years, the couple slowly expanded their winery in the Stags Leap District to include a tasting room, underground tunnels and a cave (one of the first modern caves built in Napa Valley). The estate would even include a private airstrip which is now planted to award-winning cabernet sauvignon grapes.
The Steltzner’s would boost their annual production of their namesake label to 25,000 cases annually with an array of different varietals such as cabernet sauvignon, merlot, malbec, cabernet franc, and a small amount of tintoria and pinotage. But the time had come for them to pass the torch, and the Steltzner’s wanted to make sure their property was going to be in good hands.