Rudy von Strasser’s journey into winemaking actually began at the University of New Hampshire while studying agriculture. His goal was to be “The King of Hard-Cider”, writing his thesis on hard-cider production. While traveling across the country, Rudy took a job at Robert Mondavi Winery in 1980 with intention to take tips-and-tricks from the wine industry to apply to hard-cider production; he ended up falling in love with wine.
Like so many have done, Rudy enrolled in the Enology program at U.C. Davis. However, unlike anyone before him, Rudy took a chance and wrote a letter to Eric de Rothschild of the world-famous Chateau Lafite-Rothschild seeking an internship opportunity for a harvest. He became the first American to receive this internship and spent the 1985 harvest working at the Chateau. When he returned, Rudy worked at Trefethen in the cellar, and then Newton Vineyards as the assistant winemaker under John Kongsgaard. These experiences would build the foundation Rudy would use for von Strasser Winery and its distinct winemaking style.
In 1990, Rudy and Rita von Strasser found the perfect site upon which to build their winery, as wells as live and raise their three children: Diamond Mountain. An area known for producing some of Napa Valley’s most exceptional Cabernet Sauvignons. The 30-acre property was formally Roddis Estates, and next door to Diamond Creek. The first vintage (1990) was produced from the existing 6-acres of Cabernet Sauvignon and over the last 30 years we have expanded across the Diamond Mountain AVA sourcing incredible vineyards to produce our current portfolio of award winning of Cabernet Sauvignons and Bordeaux Style Reserve Red Wines.
In 2015, a new opportunity presented itself to Rudy and Rita: Lava Vine Winery. A small tasting room and winery just across the valley that had its own cult following; a fervent fan base that loved the “alternative varietals” that were being produced. Specializing in Pinot Noir, Zinfandel, Tempranillo, Petit Sirahs and many more small lots, Rudy saw a new challenge.
Today, von Strasser Family of wines produces three brands: Rudy, Lava Vine and von Strasser. Von Strasser continues to be our flag ship; award winning single Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignons. Lava Vine is our “ABC” label: Anything But Cabernet. These “alternative varietal” wines come from hand-selected single vineyards throughout California and Napa Valley. Rudy is our négociant-style brand, where you get the best value. While we do have a diverse range of varietals, these wines are very exclusive, limited case production wines, majority of which are sold only in the tasting room and to the wine club.