Robert Schermeister

Founder + Winemaker

In a magical moment surrounded by new friends sipping great wines in Germany, Rob knew his life was about to change forever. It was 2005 and he was in the midst of finishing a degree in Biochemistry at the University of Idaho. His path surely would have led to something in livestock or potatoes, but the universe had different plans. A vacation in Europe was now a pivotal point in the life decisions of a 23-year-old searching for something more, so Rob decided that he would put his passion for science and nature to good use. He was going to make wine and it was going to be amazing. Having grown up backpacking the Wind Rivers and backcountry of Idaho, Rob felt a deep connection to the workings of the earth and uses that passion to make something for people to enjoy – something that is massively satisfying for his soul. It is experienced in every vintage he makes.

When Rob knew he was going to make wine, he also knew he had to learn from the best. Working as assistant winemaker to cult greats Mark Aubert and Jayson Pahlmeyer, Rob perfected his native fermentation techniques and went on to start his own winery. Further winemaking experience in Washington, Australia, and New Zealand positioned him to begin working on Schermeister Winery, born in 2012. It was the culmination of years of experience with the dream of one day running his own show. Rob is happy to say he is finally doing just that.

Laura Schermeister

Co-owner + Everything Creative

Laura’s life in Napa could be described as a happy accident. In 2013, after a 9-year career in graphic design, she sold her home in Charlotte, NC and came to Napa for a much needed break to reconnect with nature. What was supposed to be a 6-week harvest job turned into an extended stay when she met Rob. He needed a website design for his new winery, and the two were connected by a mutual friend (who would later marry us on Mount Veeder in 2017!). Laura never expected to stay past October, and certainly never expected to meet the person who would become much more than a business partner – but her partner in life.

Laura continues to put her creative skills to work for the winery. She’s in charge of all things design and marketing, using her experience collaborating with big brands like Nike, Lay’s, and Google to tell a more intimate story of how and why we make our wines.

Eli the Wine Dog

Eli came into our lives in September of 2018 when Laura saw a suffering, just-saved dog on Facebook. She took one look at Eli, who was covered in mange, fleas, and ticks, and thought, “He’s the one!” A month and several medicated baths later, Eli came home with us for a trial run. His gentle nature came out right away, with a puppy playfullness that he loves to let out when Laura takes him for morning laps in the vineyard. He also loves greeting guests in our tasting room!

Eli was adopted from Dogwood Animal Rescue out of Santa Rosa. He was found wandering a vineyard with his two 6-month-old siblings so wine life was clearly for them. They have all been adopted thanks to the rescue’s efforts, and Eli is now living a life of luxury at the winery and in our home. We hope that our story will encourage people to adopt the next time you want to add a fur baby to the family.

Bootsy

Bootsy the Lap Snail

When you say goodbye to a pet, it leaves a hole in your heart and home. After Kiddo crossed the bridge, we adopted Bootsy, a 6-year-old rescue from Jameson Animal Rescue Ranch. She came from a hoarding situation and settled right in from day one. Bootsy finally had an entire house to run around freely, as all cats should.

Bootsy is the ultimate cat. She’s snuggly, loves to chase the laser toy, will take advantage of an open lap any chance she gets, and teases Eli day in and day out. He wants to play with her so badly but she’s too good for that.

Bootsy is older than most cats that people would adopt. She also has a few allergy issues, but we adore her to pieces and can’t imagine a better snugglebug. Please consider an older animal when looking for your next pet!

Kiddo the Wine cat

Kiddo the Grump

In Loving Memory

If there wasn’t already a famous Grumpy Cat, our Kiddo would have taken that crown easily. She was moody, solitary, and like most cats, seeking affection on her own terms. Laura adopted Kiddo, a rescue, in 2006. It took Kiddo several years to open up to her new life, so we were surprised when she took to Rob immediately upon meeting him in 2014. She gave him lots of love and would always brush against his legs and look up to him for pets. That’s how Laura knew Rob was one of the good ones.

Kiddo’s favorite past times included supervising wine club shipments, snacking on catnip, hunting her toy “mouse mouse”, sniffing the breeze as it blew through the windows, and sitting on our laps a total of about 8 times in her 15 years of life. We miss you, Kiddo, and will always love you.

Our Philosophy

As a small family winery, we only produce around 600 cases per year. What that means for the people who love our wine is that they will only be able to access our vintages directly from us. Among the many reasons for staying small is the ability to keep making wines by fermenting the fruit using only the yeasts that are already in the vineyard. This is the most crucial part of our process and our wine wouldn’t be nearly as unique and delicious if we did it any other way. Native fermentation is hard. It is risky, often difficult to control, and can yield some unexpected results along the path to making our wines. Thanks to Rob’s science background and his creativity in the cellar, we always overcome these challenges to make wine that tastes amazing. Not one of our wines is the same as the next.