McKenzie Mueller is owned by the husband and wife team of Bob Mueller and Karen McKenzie. The winery is located on Las Amigas Road in the Napa Valley side of the Carneros AVA. Bob has a degree in fermentation sciences from UC Davis. He grew up on a Rutherford vineyard and worked for Mondavi before planting his first vines in 1979.
Bob Mueller and Jayson Cleveland tend the vines and Bob is responsible for the winemaking duties. All of the wines are estate grown and bottled. Whenever possible, natural predators are used to combat vineyard pests instead of pesticides.
Karen runs the business end of the winery and also conducts wine tastings and tours. The couple’s five children also help out with the family business. In 1990, McKenzie Mueller made 500 cases of their first vintage. Production has since increased to 2,500 cases a year which is still very small.
Bob and Karen own one vineyard in Carneros and another just to the north in the Oak Knoll AVA. In 1979, they planted Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc on their Oak Knoll property along Big Ranch Road. McKenzie Mueller’s Carneros vineyard grows Pinot Noir, Pinot Grigio, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Malbec.
The wines are fermented in stainless steel tanks, but are often aged in small oak barrels afterwards. Bob and Karen only age their white wines in neutral containers to retain fresh varietal characteristics. They do not filter any of their wines before bottling.
In 2000, the winery was awarded the impressive honor of being named Estate Winery of the Year by Wine and Spirits Magazine. I especially like their single vineyard Pinot Noir from Carneros. Wine tasting and tours of the production facility are by appointment only.