Gemstone Wine


Gemstone Vineyard is a small, family-owned producer of estate wines. Our focus is on crafting richly textured red wines from Bordeaux varietals grown on our property.

Location Description

Located in the heart of Yountville, California.


  • Technology, Innovation, and a Bit of Courage... Extraordinary wine is a product of extraordinary effort in the vineyard...

Additional Information

  • Meeting / Conference Facilities:
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  • Dog Friendly:
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Average Bottle Price

$ 150


"Vintage 2005 was the first Gemstone to be totally controlled from vineyard to bottle by celebrated winemaker Philippe Melka, who came to California following a distinguished career in Bordeaux France. Philippe and his able assistants Marie-Laure Ammons, Julien Fayard, John Paul (JP) Formento are truly responsible for the "gems" in Gemstone wine."

The Team

Gemstone Founders:

If you run a google search on Michael Marks the first thing you may uncover is an impressive resume of high-level high tech leadership. Based in the Silicon Valley, Marks and wife Carole began visiting to the Napa Valley many years ago, however owning a piece of it wasn't on his original list of pressing acquisitions.

That said, with their children grown and out of the house, Michael and Carole began to spend more time a little further north. Longtime friends Frank and Kathy Dotzler (Outpost Wines) had retreated to agriculture several years earlier and encouraged the Marks to spend more time in the Napa Valley, which offered a wonderful adjunct to their hectic Silicon Valley lifestyle.

Over dinner with the Dotzlers, Michael discovered that Gemstone might become available to the right person and the idea piqued his interest. Thanks to the efforts of Suzie and Paul Frank, Gemstone offered Marks, whose Harvard MBA was preceded by both a Bachelors and a Masters in Psychology from Oberlin College, a new creative outlet. The Marks family could pursue a budding interest with a firm foothold already established in the market, and the Frank family found the right successor for their most treasured label. For both parties it was a perfect fit.

Although the ownership of Gemstone has changed, the goal remains the same: to create the highest quality experience, and to have fun doing it.

Paul Frank, Founder-

Philippe spent much of his early life in Bordeaux, receiving his geology degree in 1989 from the University of Bordeaux. In his final year of study, he took a wine course purely out of sheer curiosity, and from that moment on realized his passion - and future - lay in the world of wine.

In 1991 he completed a masters program in Agronomy and Enology under the direction of Professor Sequin, a noted specialist with regard to terroir. Philippe was fascinated by the relationship between soil and wine quality and his appreciation of the study of soil agronomy continues to this day in his work as a viticulturist as well as winemaker.

Philippe set out for the New World to discover its wines and expand his knowledge in the process. In 1991-1992, he worked for Dominus in both winemaking and vineyard management. He split 1992 between working harvest at Chittering Estate in Western Australia and returning to Dominus to study grape maturation and picking times.

In 1993, Philippe studied soils at Badia a Coltibuono in Italy as well as the Sangiovese varietal. In the spring of that year he was once again on French soil, joining the J. P. Moueix company in Libourne, where he stayed until returning to Napa Valley in 1994 to devote himself to winemaking, viticulture, and continuing soil studies.

Fifteen years later Philippe is one of the most sought after winemakers and viticulturalists in California. His extended family of wineries represents a diverse range of vineyard sites and soil types, from cool-climate, shallow, volcanic soils to deep, rich, warm-microclimate clay. Philippe's wines express the voice of the soil as much as that of the winemaker.

Estate Vineyards / AVA

We were certain that our stony slope would be hospitable to Bordeaux's most noble varietals, but we were committed to some controversial new ideas in our attempt to grow the best possible fruit. We divided our small vineyard into micro-blocks of five distinguished clones of Cabernet Sauvignon, two clones of Merlot, two clones of Cabernet Franc, and Petit Verdot. We painstakingly laboratory tested our budwood, bypassing customary heat treatment. We knew that it would be worth the risk if the result were a truly distinctive wine.

A no-compromise strategy was agreed upon, resulting in a dense planting of the vines on a variety of rootstocks carefully matched to the soil. Labor intensive cane pruning, meticulous canopy management and nutritional monitoring were employed. New levels of quality control were introduced with the installation of a radio telemetry weather station that downloads data to our computerized vineyard management program, along with neutron probes to monitor soil moisture.

When we harvested our first crop of richly flavored berries, we knew it was worth the effort.

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By appointment only.


Post Office Box 3477
Yountville, California 94599
United States

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