The winery was built by Jack Riorda and a group of partners. Initially called Sunnyhill Winery, it was rechristened to Sunny St. Helena Winery a short time later.
Ceasare Mondavi father of Peter and Robert became a partner with Mr. Riorda. Peter and Robert Mondavi had their first winemaking experiences at Sunny St. Helena. In fact, it was here that they both experimented with cold fermentation for the first time. During this period, the winery produced one million gallons per year of bulk wine that was shipped east in rail cars for bottling by distributors.
The winery was sold to a small cooperative of Napa Valley growers and it functioned as a co-op for five years before being purchased by Charles Forni, a notable Napa Valley vintner of the time. The winery appears to have continued to operate as a cooperative at this time.
Carlo Forni sold Sunny St. Helena to Mont La Salle Vineyards (The Christian Brothers). The Christian Brothers used the facility for storage and wine aging, not making wine here during that time.
The first Red Table Wine labeled as Merryvale was produced at a custom crush facility in Calistoga.
The Sunny St. Helena facility was purchased by Bill Harlan and partners.
After restoring the winery to full operation, Harlan and partners opened the winery as Sunny St. Helena in 1988.
Jack Schlatter became a partner, opening export markets throughout Europe and Asia for the Merryvale brand.
Sunny St. Helena changed its name to Merryvale Vineyards.
In 1996 Jack and his family became the sole owners of Merryvale Vineyards.
Schlatter Family Estate Vineyard was developed under the direction of Michel Rolland; planted and farmed by David Abreu Vineyard Management. Located east of St. Helena the site features 25 acres planted to Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc.
The Merryvale Vineyards winery building was renovated to become a luxury-class facility with small temperature controlled fermentors, intensive sorting equipment, a basket press, a cold room and other resources to produce great wine.
René Schlatter, who had joined company in 1995, became Proprietor & CEO.