At Watermark Wine, we are passionate about crafting the highest quality wines for our customers. Since 1983, our winemaker Phil Steinschriber has been at the forefront of the industry, with a long and distinguished career that includes 30 years at Diamond Creek Vineyards, where he received scores of 100 points for his Cabernets several times.
In 2004, Phil launched his own private label, WaterMark Wine. Since then, he has been tending his own beautiful vineyard on Howell Mountain. We are proud to be able to offer our customers a selection of wines that are expertly crafted and truly unique.
Phil Steinschriber's Biography
Undoubtedly, Phil Steinschriber's career took off as the Winemaker for Diamond Creek Vineyards (since 1991 till his retirement late 2020)
However, Phil has been in and around the beverage industry since he 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 helped 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 home about a year later and went into business with his father, not realizing back then how important those travels were to his future.
After becoming the wine buyer for his father's store, Phil had the opportunity to learn more and more about the wine industry. By 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 University where he earned his master's degree in Agricultural Chemistry. In 1983 he was offered a position 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. While conversing, Phil suggested he should go to work for them. Al thought it was a joke and laughed it off.
After two years in Israel, Phil returned to the US and took a position as winemaker in Albuquerque, New Mexico for a short stint. In 1986 he returned to California and came to the Napa Valley becoming the winemaker for Napa Creek Winery. In the winter of 1990 Phil again saw Al Brounstein. Again, he asked if Al had something for him and this time, being intrigued, Al said yes, 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 continued to produce superior wines for Diamond Creek Vineyards with many wines scoring between 90 and to 100 points from many wine critics. Phil is known for setting a tone of softer wines in the 90's and rounder more complex wines in the 2000's. He produced the Diamond Creek wines until, after, sadly, the passing of 1st, Al Brounstein and then Boots Brounstein in 2019. Phil consulted for the new owners for a year and is now free to focus on WaterMark Wine and our new 3 acre Howell Mountain Vineyard named Corilan. He strives today to make better and better wines by manipulating the vineyards and using modern techniques in viticulture.
WaterMark Wine is Phil & his wife Dianes venture and includes a Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, Mt Veeder Cabernets, and now, may we present our 3 acre estate vineyard named Corilan Vineyards designated Howell Mountain AVA . First Vintage 2022 to be released late 2024 or 2025 we'll see.....