As an entrepreneur in the fifties, Al Brounstein became a successful pharmaceuticals wholesaler in Southern California. By the mid-sixties, he was ready for a new career and looked to the Napa Valley and a 70-acre parcel of land on Diamond Mountain to satisfy his fascination with wine. In 1966, before he was even able to purchase the land, he smuggled vine cuttings in from two premier cru properties in Bordeaux, personally flying them up from Tijuana, Mexico to a nursery in St. Helena.
He acquired the land in 1967 and began planting it in 1968, identifying three vineyard blocks by the differences in soil structure and exposition, and naming them for their geological forms Red Rock Terrace (seven acres with reddish-brown soil facing north), Gravelly Meadow (five relatively flat acres with a gravelly, sandy soil) and Volcanic Hill (eight acres of white volcanic ash on the hillside facing south).
Brounstein had an historical record of these three vineyards from the 1972 vintage forward, as well as of the three-quarter acre Lake Vineyard which he bottled separately in certain vintages. He was decades ahead of the current trend toward micro-wineries and cult cabernets in Napa. And, as if to prove the value of that record, or certainly the quality of the wines, Diamond Creek's Cabernets regularly sell out at prices that put most cult wines to shame.
Written By Joshua Greene Courtesy of Wine & Spirits Magazine.