Was Steve Reynolds destined to be in the wine business? It sure seems so.
“My father was almost fanatical about wine and was an avid wine collector,” Steve recalls. “Most of our family outings centered around wine and wineries and we never had a meal where there wasn’t a bottle of wine on the table.”
It was while pursing his degrree in dentistry at the University of the Pacific, that Steve first met Suzie and his destiny.
“Suzie was at St. Mary’s College nearby and we started dating. Her best friend was seeing a guy from Napa named Oscar Renteria. We all started hanging out together and going to Napa Valley on weekends where Oscar’s father was a vineyard manager.”
Returning from Napa one weekend, a fifteen-minute conversation was all it took for Steve to sell his Central Valley practice and move to Napa.
“We loved Napa and I fancied myself one of those gentlemen farmers making homemade wine on the side. I started a new practice and Suzie continued to work in her family’s insurance business.”
The Reynolds’ jump into the wine business began in earnest in 1995 when an old chicken ranch on Silverado Trail became available. The first wines were made in 1999 and were well-received so Steve decided it was time to make a business of it.
The winery’s first release cases came amid a rash of personal problems for Reynolds.
“I was really up against it,” Steve admitted. “It wasn’t the greatest time in my life – my father had just passed away – but I had no real choice. The winery demanded someone be there on a full time basis. I called on my friends and neighbors and everyone pitched in and helped out.”
That’s when Steve decided to give up his dental practice to operate the winery full time. Basically self-taught, Steve studied at UC Davis for two years to perfect his art. He credits South African winemaker Anthony Bell for seeing him through the hardest time in his winery’s evolution.
Today, Reynolds Family Winery has grown to around 7,000 cases. Through it all, Steve and Suzie have truly enjoyed the experience and path that has lead them to where they are today. They have three beautiful children – Cameron who recently graduated from Cal-Poly andf has joined the staff, Rebecca who is playing water polo for and attends UC Davis (20) and Sarah (16) is a sophomore in High School – dozens of accolades, and most of all, each other.