Phil Steinschriber's Biography
Undoubtedly, Phil Steinschriber's notoriety began as the Winemaker for Diamond Creek Vineyards (for the last 25 years and presently).
However, Phil has been in and around the beverage industry since he was about
the age of 12. His father and mother both survived concentration camps in Poland
and Germany. With 7th grade educations they came to this country seeking new
lives. They bought a small farm in New Jersey and became chicken farmers (where
Phil spent his early years). When the chicken farm failed, they packed up the family
in their Plymouth and trailer and moved to California. With the little money they
had they purchased a small liquor store in Los Angeles, California.
Phil would help his father out in the store selling such items as Thunderbird,
Annie Green Springs and MD 20 20. Thus he began to wonder about what good
wine might be like. Phil received his bachelor's degree from UCLA in 1973. In 1974
he decided to travel and took off for Europe with a one way ticket and a few dollars
in his pocket. He hitched up with some people in Amsterdam and traveled through
Europe visiting such countries as Greece, Italy and France. He thought the
countryside was very beautiful with the old vines and vineyards and enjoyed the
many wines that he tried while traveling in the back seat of the combi VW van.
He returned about a year later and went into business with his father not realizing
how important those travels were to his future.
After becoming the wine buyer for his father's store, he had to learn more and more about the wine industry. In 1979 his interest was piqued enough to spur him on to pursue a career in winemaking. He began taking chemistry courses and later transferred to Fresno State where he earned his master's degree in Agricultural Chemistry. He was offered a position in 1983 with a company in the Golan Heights of Israel to produce kosher wines in the modern California style. He took the position and was mentored by Peter Stern who has an international consulting firm. While there he met Al and Boots Brounstein of Diamond Creek Vineyards and while visiting the winery Phil suggested that he go to work for them. Al thought it was a joke and laughed it off.
After two years Phil returned to the US and took a position as winemaker in Albuquerque, New Mexico for a short stint. He then returned to California in 1986 and came to the Napa Valley becoming the winemaker for Napa Creek Winery. In the winter of 1990 Phil again saw Al. Again, he asked if Al had something for him and this time, being intrigued, he said he did.
Phil became the winemaker for Al on February 1st, 1991 and worked with Jerry Luper who was the consultant at the time. Phil continues to produce superior wines for Diamond Creek Vineyards with many wines scoring between 90 and to 98 points from many wine critics. He produces the Diamond Creek wines today after setting a tone of softer wines in the 90's and rounder more complex wines in the 2000's. He strives today to make better and better wines by manipulating the vineyards and using modern techniques in wine making. WaterMark is Phil's own venture and has a Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, Mt Veeder Cabernets and will have an estate vineyard designated Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon when his and his wife's vineyard bears fruit .