Love at second sight: a Wine Country story

We could also call this story “Artist travels to California for two-month wine job, falls in love with a winemaker, never moves back to east coast”.

It is the story of fantasies, what movies are made of, just two young kids – a winemaker and a designer – chasing the American Dream.

The year was 2012 and Robert Schermeister, having made wine for cult greats Mark Aubert and Jayson Pahlmeyer, knew it was a perfect year for Pinot Noir. He took the plunge and made 125 cases of Napa Valley Pinot Noir under his own label, Schermeister Winery, using the native fermentation techniques he mastered under his mentors. He acquired licenses, bonds, and a website domain. This was the beginning of fulfilling a dream bigger than he ever imagined.

Winemaker Robert Schermeister
Rob working on the Aubert 2009 Chardonnay
Designer turned cellar rat Laura
Laura’s first harvest – October 2013

You Only Live Once

Fast forward to September 2013. Laura Erickson was ready for a life change. A graphic designer in Charlotte, North Carolina, and native of California, she knew it was time to go back west for a break. Laura quit her job, sold her home, and got a two-month cellar job at Olivia Brion Winery in Napa Valley. She wanted to get dirty. To reconnect with the earth. To explore her passion for wine that began early on in her life.

The 2013 harvest season ended, but Laura was becoming known as the new designer in town. She took on a few winery clients though never intended to stay permanently. In March of 2014, she received an email from a young man who had just started his own winery. His name was Robert Schermeister. Laura thought, “I’ll take one last job, then go back to North Carolina to figure out the rest of my life”.

Rob and Laura's first picture together
Our first picture together – Yosemite, 2014
Winemaker and Designer turned Vintners
Sorting Syrah grapes – Harvest 2017

Needless to say, Robert hired Laura to design his winery website. Their first meeting at Starbucks was uneventful. They talked about formalities like timeline and cost per hour (yes, Laura charged Robert her full design rate).

Are we in a meeting or on a date?

The second meeting was telling of their future together – Robert gave Laura a bottle of his wine and they talked for six hours. It felt like a date! That night, she opened the bottle of 2012 Pinot Noir and immediately fell in love. It was the best bottle of Pinot she’d ever had and it sparked a genuine passion for helping to share Robert’s story as a winemaker. Slowly, they began spending more time together doing date-y things like exploring the winding back roads of Napa Valley, taking pictures in vineyards during the golden hour, talking over bottles of wine, and watching X-Files re-runs. This beautiful world was theirs to discover together. As the winery grew, so did their friendship, and the couple married at their home on Mount Veeder in 2017. 

Our ribbon cutting ceremony celebrating the opening of our tasting room
Our wedding day – July 2017

Today, Robert and Laura are the sole owners and operators of their winery. From winemaking to social media, to running their Glen Ellen tasting room, they really do it all… with love.