• Our Story

    Our Story

It All Began With a Handshake

Silver Oak began over a handshake between two friends with a bold vision: focus on one varietal, Cabernet Sauvignon, aged exclusively in American oak and worthy of cellaring for decades to come.

Our Founders

Raymond Twomey Duncan, a Colorado entrepreneur who began investing in California vineyards in the late 1960s, and Justin Meyer, a winemaker and former Christian Brother, began in a Napa Valley dairy barn in 1972, producing only 1,100 cases of their inaugural vintage.

Over the next two decades, Silver Oak grew in popularity. Our Napa Valley and Alexander Valley Cabernets sold quickly upon their release from the winery and became a sought-after staple on restaurant wine lists around the country. After selecting Daniel Baron to succeed him as winemaker in 1994, Justin retired, selling his share of Silver Oak to the Duncan family in 2001.

With David R. Duncan serving as President and CEO and Tim Duncan as Executive Vice President, the Duncan family continues to operate the winery to this day.

“We Rebuild”

In 2006, a fire destroyed our historic Oakville winery. It was a difficult and emotional event; but in hindsight, a blessing in disguise. When we regrouped on the morning of the fire, we knew we had to rebuild, and it wasn’t long before the excitement of a new, state-of-the-art winery overcame our sense of loss.

Today, we are applying this experience from our LEED Platinum Oakville winery toward a new winery in the Alexander Valley. Set amidst 70 acres of estate vineyards along the rolling foothills of the Mayacamas mountains, our new Alexander Valley winery – set to open for harvest 2017 – will push industry design and innovation standards through alternative energy sources, innovative water reuse systems and reclaimed building materials.

Continuous Improvement

“We have yet to make our best bottle of wine,” or the idea that our best wines are still ahead of us, is a philosophy that guides everything we do. In 2015, we became the first North American winery to own and operate an American oak cooperage, giving us full control over the quality of our barrelmaking needs.

Today, we farm more than 400 acres of vines in Napa Valley and Alexander Valley with a leading-edge approach toward precision viticulture, allowing us to give our vines exactly what they need, when they need it. All of our estate vineyards are certified under California’s Sustainable Winegrowing program.

In 2014, Nate Weis joined us as only the third winemaker in our 45-year history. Nate worked side-by-side with Daniel Baron, just as Daniel worked with Justin Meyer before his retirement. These overlapping tenures ensure the handing down of our commitment to continuous improvement and the wisdom that our best wines are still ahead of us.