Our Story: Paloma’s beginning
The founders of Paloma Vineyard, Barbara and Jim Richards dreamt of building a vineyard focusing on sustainable farming that would highlight the grapes and terroir of their favourite region. This dream was realized in 1983 when a friend, Dan Duckhorn, called and told them about the property now known as Paloma Vineyard. Over the next 25 years, Jim and Barbara worked to clear, plant, and cultivate the 7500 Merlot, Syrah, and Cabernet Sauvignon vines.
In 1991, some of the Merlot grapes they harvested were sold to Pride to be blended into their Cabernet Sauvignon. In 1993 when Carolyn and Jim Pride released the 1991 Merlot, and it was a huge hit! Jim Richards worked and learned oenology alongside Bob Foley, legendary winemaker, and in 1996, Paloma released their 1994 Merlot – all 575 cases of it. Paloma’s first commercial Syrah was released in 1998. Barbara’s devotion to the vines was abundantly evident having once claimed, “I can name all 7,500 of my children.”
In 2000, things really started to propel forward as Paloma built the estate winery. It was barely finished by harvest, but Jim and Barbara were able to crush their own harvest that year.
Barbara and Jim’s son, Sheldon, joined the business in August of 2003, just in time for harvest and for the release of the award winning 2001 Paloma Merlot. This year the Wine Spectator magazine named the 2001 Paloma Merlot “Wine of the Year” for 2003. As a small family winery, Paloma was hardly prepared for the avalanche of calls and attention. The 2002 and 2006 vintages also graced the Wine Spectator’s Top 100.
After their passing in 2009 and 2016, Jim and Barbara’s legacy has left its mark on Spring Mountain and in the Napa Valley.
“My parents left me an amazing legacy, one that I will continue to maintain–farming, winemaking & hospitality–at levels that would make them both proud. Little will change! I can promise you that. What we all love most about this lifestyle, is you, the people we meet from all over the world. You make the food and wine taste better and always remind us of how lucky we are to live in paradise! To all of our many friends and loyal wine buyers, we thank you for your ongoing support.” – Sheldon Richards