Supporting our community and industry through COVID-19 →

Diane & Phil Steinschriber

Owner & Winemaker, Watermark Wine

Diane & Phil Steinschriber

Every year we try to make better and better wine. We all have an ideal wine in our heads, and we never achieve making it, but we consistently strive to get there. Kind of like chasing the carrot.

When was your first Napa Valley harvest?

Our first harvest in Napa Valley was in 1986.

Name a Napa Valley vintner who has influenced you and briefly explain why.

Jerry Luper was very influential when I started at Diamond Creek. He taught me to understand the vineyards from which these wines came.

How did you get started in the wine business?

My father owned a liquor store in the 60s and 70s. I became the wine buyer in 1975 and became interested in wine from the sales side of the industry. Went back to school and received my Masters for Agricultural Chemistry with an emphasis on Enology.

Which wine was your "a-ha!" wine – the one that made you love wine or inspired you to get into the industry?

The wine that most influenced me was the 1978 Volcanic Hill by Diamond Creek. I had that in a tasting class at Fresno State University, and it blew me away. I knew then that Cabernet Sauvignon was my ticket. It just so happened that I ultimately ended up working for them.

What are the most rewarding aspects of your work?

Every vintage is new and different, and it is exciting to see what mother nature brings us. It is a spiritual venture trying to understand what all our actions in the vineyard and winery brings us. It excites me to know that we are at once in charge, and we are also at once not in charge. We can guide, but we cannot make, but we get a little more control every year.

If you weren't a Napa Valley vintner, what would you be doing?

I would probably have been a painter or photographer. I have always tried to have an outlet for some creativity in my life.

If you could open a bottle of your wine and share it with any three people (living or not), who would they be?

Share a bottle with André Tchelistcheff and talk about how he feels about my wine, not in terms of wine descriptors but in terms of poetry.

What are the greatest challenges?

Trying to control mother nature at the same time trying to nurture the vines.

Our motto at the NVV is "cultivating excellence." What does this phrase mean to you and how do you cultivate excellence at your winery?

Every year we try to make better and better wine. We all have an ideal wine in our heads, and we never achieve making it, but we consistently strive to get there. Kind of like chasing the carrot.

What's one thing people would be surprised to know about you?

I may seem complicated, but really I am a very simple person with fairly simple needs. Outwardly complicated, inwardly pretty happy.

What are you doing at your winery to help preserve and enhance Napa Valley for the future? (e.g., sustainable practices, family succession plan, community service, etc.)

We are trying to respect the earth by going as organic as possible. We nurture the soil and make the earth fertile.

What advice would you offer someone trying to get into the Napa Valley wine industry?

Give everything you’ve got to satisfy your creativeness.

This website uses cookies.
Learn more about our privacy policy.
Dismiss this notice