The History of Steinbeck Wines

Steinbeck Vineyards & Winery has been proudly family-owned since 1884. To this date, an amazing seven generations of the Steinbeck family have been involved in supporting the business! In 1884, the Ernst family moved from Illinois to California, feeling drawn to the state’s fertile regions and plenty of greenery and rolling hills. Over time, they planted 25 types of grapes.

In the 1900s, the Ernst brothers began to commercialize their wine production and even showcased their products at the county fair. Together, they made an impressive 3700 gallons of wine.

In 1921, Frank and Rosie Ernst bought the property that hosts the vineyards today. Together, they built a ranch and a barn. In 1948, Frank passed away; his blacksmith’s shop is today’s wine-tasting room.

In the 1940s, the family had expanded to growing grains and farming livestock, and they also registered their now iconic “S” logo.

Frank and Rosie had a total of 4 children and 16 grandchildren. One of the children, Howie, and his partner, Bev, had four children and 7 grandchildren. Howie, having always shown an interest in agriculture, started to learn about viticulture from his grandfather.

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In 1982, Howie (Howard) set up Steinbeck Vineyards. Howie was the fourth of seven generations of this family. His sister, Cindy Steinbeck, returned home in 1997 to help out with the business.

In 2006, Cindy set up Steinbeck Vineyards and Winery to allow people to participate in wine tastings. The Steinbeck estate was also the first wine estate to have 2-hour long Jeep tours. Cindy’s family still lives near the property. Currently, Cindy dabbles as a speaker at Christian events and sells her family’s wines with a passion. She has found a good balance between her faith and the wine business and has written books on both.

Currently, the winery offers wine tasting, winery tours, and crash courses in wine.

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Categories: WineBy Published On: October 26, 2022Last Updated: March 6, 2023

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