Lail Vineyards


  • "Top 100 Most Influential U.S. Winemakers (Number 1). Phillipe Melka is one of the most in-demand red winemakers working today. Melka is not following in anyone's footsteps. Trained in Bordeaux but passionate about California, this Frenchman has his own take on Napa Cabernet... Realizing the potential of Napa, he's dedicated his life's work to consulting and eventually started Melka Wines. Though Melka remains somewhat under the radar, his influence is apparent in his fingerprints being at more wineries than anyone else." (Into Wine)
  • "Proprietors John and Robin Lail are among an increasing number of Napa Valley producers making two hierarchies of wines, a less expensive cuvee based on purchased fruit and their flagship offerings that are usually made from estate-owned vineyards. The objective of these programs is to give consumers and restaurants less expensive wines without sacrificing quality. Lail’s value priced offerings are sold under the Blueprint label." (Robert Parker, The Wine Advocate)

Basic Info

"A PASSION FOR PERFECTION: Crafting exquisite wines is our family’s greatest passion. For over 130 years, our quest for perfection and our spirit of discovery have cultivated some of the most treasured wines around the world. Each delicious blend is designed to make your occasions more radiant by enhancing the flavors and conversations. Lail Vineyards wines are a gift from our family to yours. May your celebrations be bountiful.” -Robin Lail Founded and led today by Robin Lail, Lail Vineyard’s history reaches back five generations to 1879 when her great granduncle Gustav Niebaum founded Inglenook Vineyards. By the 1890’s, Niebaum and his wines had become legendary, and Inglenook was considered by many to be the finest wine producer in the country. Following Niebaum’s death in 1908, the winery was under the guidance of John Daniel Sr. who managed the vineyards until the repeal of Prohibition. When Inglenook passed into the hands of Niebaum’s great-nephew John Daniel Jr. in 1936, he became the steward of Gustav Niebaum’s dreams for the winery, with remarkable results. Working closely with his friend Robert Mondavi, John Daniel Jr. was largely responsible for creating the foundation of the Napa Valley appellation as we see it today. He believed that the wines made in Napa Valley could rival the best wines made anywhere in the world, and he played a significant role in making this vision a reality. When Inglenook was sold in 1964, it was widely recognized as a winery that had changed the face of winemaking in California forever. This is the rich history that John Daniel Jr.’s daughter Robin Lail inherited, cultivated, and is passing on to her children and grandchildren. This is the heritage that is the basis for the passion and expertise of Lail Vineyards. After Inglenook was sold, John Daniel Jr.’s daughters inherited the Napanook Vineyard, and the family took a brief hiatus from winemaking. It was Jon Lail, Robin’s husband, who brought the family back into the wine business in the early 1970’s when he went to work for a distributor in San Francisco. Soon, he was hired by Oakville Vineyards as Vice President of Marketing where he worked for several years before returning to architecture. In 1977, Robin joined Robert Mondavi for a five-year apprenticeship. She then went on to co-found Dominus in 1982 with her sister Marcia Smith and the brilliant winemaker Christian Moueix. In the following year, Robin co-founded Merryvale Vineyards with Bill Harlan, his partners at Pacific Union and Jon Lail. She served as President of Merryvale for 10 years. In 1995, the Lails sold their interests in Merryvale and Dominus and established Lail Vineyards with Philippe Melka as winemaker. In 1998, Erin Lail, their oldest daughter, joined the firm as Director of Operations. Today she is General Manager.

North Coast
Sub region:
Napa Valley
Year founded:
Lail Family
Philippe Melka