Ask Merryvale Proprietor Jack Schlatter about his background as a cotton classer in México, coffee taster in Brazil, or any of his other fascinating experiences and he’ll quickly steer the conversation back to his true passion – the wines of Merryvale Vineyards. A native of Switzerland, Jack’s lifelong love of wine drew him to the Napa Valley in late 1991. “Napa Valley’s diversity of soils and microclimates allows us to grow high quality Chardonnay and Pinot Noir just a few miles from Cabernet Sauvignon. There’s no other place in the world like it.” says Jack.
Now at the helm of Merryvale for more than 25 years, Jack and his son René have established deep roots in the Valley, developing long term partnerships with some of the best wine grape growers in the Napa Valley as well as two estate vineyards: the 25-acre Schlatter Family Estate on a ridgetop high overlooking St. Helena—ideal for Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot to which it is planted; the 50-acre Stanly Ranch Estate Vineyard on the historic Stanly Ranch in Carneros perfect for Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Both the winery and estate vineyards have been Napa Green Certified.
René upholds his family’s integrity in his role as CEO. Working his way up the Merryvale ladder the old-fashioned way, he has held progressively more responsible positions since joining the company in 1995. Also born in Switzerland, René has lived in the U.S. since 1987 and earned an MBA from the American Graduate School of International Management in Arizona. He lives in St. Helena with his wife, Laurence, their three daughters and three friendly dogs.
That Laurence’s family has owned a winery in Switzerland for six generations provides a special sense of tradition. “It’s very rewarding to continue this family heritage at Merryvale,” says René.