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Paloma Founders

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 favorite 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 7,500 Merlot, Syrah, and Cabernet Sauvignon vines. Barbara’s devotion to the vines was abundantly evident having once claimed, “I can name all 7,500 of my children.”

In 1991, some of the grapes they harvested were sold to Pride to be blended into their Merlot. In 1993, when Carolyn and Jim Pride released the 1991 Merlot, it was a huge hit! So, Jim worked and learned enology alongside legendary winemaker, Pride’s very own, Bob Foley. In 1996, Paloma released their first-ever vintage, the 1994 Merlot–all 575 cases of it. Paloma’s first commercial Syrah was released in 1998.

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 fruit that year for the very first time.

Their 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. In 2003, out of over 15,000 wines, Wine Spectator named the 2001 Paloma Merlot “Wine of the Year”. As a small family winery, Paloma was hardly prepared for the avalanche of calls, faxes, and general attention, but Jim and Barbara took it in stride. They were incredibly proud of their hard work and humbled by the outpour of support. Both the 2002 and 2006 vintages also graced the Wine Spectator’s Top 100 at 54 and 65, respectively.

The 2001 Cabernet Sauvignon and the 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon (Sheldon’s first solo vintage), received high praise from James Laube of Wine Spectator in two separate articles written in 2007 and 2009.

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



Paloma Proprietor and Winemaker

Sheldon started life in west Texas where his geologist father, Jim, searched for oil and gas. By the time Sheldon was 12, his father’s search took the family to Alberta to pursue the same task. When his parents moved back to Texas, Sheldon chose to stay in Canada to pursue his entrepreneurial passion as founder of Keystone Communications and raise a family.

In 2003, Sheldon joined the family-owned Paloma Vineyard in Napa, California. He spent the next six years learning viticulture (grape farming) from his mother, Barbara, and oenology (winemaking) from his father. Barbara instilled in Sheldon to respect the vines as if each were one of his children – over 7,500 in total. Jim taught Sheldon how to let the wine make itself with minimal intervention.

In 2007, Sheldon became the full-time Paloma winemaker and continues to build on Jim and Barbara’s legacy: “To grow the best grapes possible and make a wine that reflects the terroir of our vineyard.”

Under Sheldon’s winemaking artistry, Paloma’s 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon was listed as Wine Spectator’s “Spectator Selections – Highly Recommended” in 2011.

Sheldon is continually working and fine-tuning his wine. With the addition of Cabernet Franc vines to the estate, new varieties are coming down the pipeline. With the steep and fertile terroir and Sheldon’s creativity and wisdom, they are sure to impress.


“..Sheldon honor[s] his late father and his dream to make great wine from this historic site, he is crafting some of the best wines to date and the future is looking great for Paloma.” – Wine of the Day December 18, 2015, grapelive

purchased vineyard


17 acres of land at the top of Spring Mountain is purchased. After a few years of hard labor clearing, terracing, and planting, 15 of those will soon be planted with a mix of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah.

first grape production


Jim and Barbara initially sold grapes to Napa Valley wineries, including Pride Vineyard just across the street, while continuing to cultivate the land.

first vintages


Jim and Barbara built their forever home and moved to Paloma Vineyard full-time. 575 cases of the first Paloma Merlot Vintage, 1994, are release in 1996 and 150 cases of the first vintage of Paloma Syrah, 1996, is released in 1998. The winery construction is finished just in time for harvest in 2000.

wine of the year


Sheldon, Jim & Barbara's son, joins them at Paloma Vineyard. Wine Spectator names Paloma's 2001 Merlot ``Wine of the Year`` in 2003. The 2004 and 2006 Merlot also make the Wine Spectator Top 100 lists.

jim passes


In 2009, Jim passes after a lengthy battle with cancer, but not before sharing his winemaking secrets with Sheldon. Sheldon continues Jim's wine making legacy of excellent, with the 2009 Paloma Cabernet Sauvignon, his first solo vintage since Jim's passing. It receives special acknowledgement by the Wine Spectator in 2012.

barbara passes


Paloma's Matriarch, Barbara, passes peacefully in her sleep in the fall of 2016.

new generations


From 2016-2018, 700 vines of Cabernet Franc replace a small portion of aging Merlot vines throughout the vineyard. Starting in 2019, Sheldon's sons, Jace and Caston, begin taking on invested roles at Paloma.

fires surround


LNU & Glass fires ravage Napa in the fall of 2020. Fire burned the entire perimeter of the property, but thanks to the incredible work of California's fire crews the vineyard survived. Unfortunately, Paloma's entire crop is lost to smoke taint.



Social Media Manager

Jace manages Paloma’s social media content and engagement. Jace is often found in the vineyard maintaining the vines or cuddling with Mita and Franc. Jace is Sheldon Richards’ son is a member of the third generation of the Richards family.


E-Commerce Manager

Caston manages Paloma’s online sales and order management. Caston is the son of Sheldon Richards and is a member of the third generation of the Richards family. Working alongside Sheldon in the winery whenever possible, Caston has been learning the winemaking ropes from his father.

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