Born in the small agricultural town of Escondido near San Diego, Koerner Rombauer first met Joan Ransome in high school though they wouldn’t start dating until many years after graduation. They reconnected, fell in love, and married in 1959.
After serving in the California Air National Guard for almost 10 years, Koerner started flying for Braniff Airlines. He and Joan moved their family first to Dallas and then to California, choosing Napa Valley for its small-town, agriculturally rooted similarity to their hometown of Escondido.
Together, in 1976, they became partners in Conn Creek winery as their first foray into the wine industry of Napa Valley. After a few years with Conn Creek, they sold their interest to found Rombauer Vineyards.
So Koerner could focus on building Rombauer Vineyards, Joan joined the sales team at Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars, working her way up to become National Sales Director. This is only one example of how they were true partners, working together towards a common goal.
Joan rejoined the company in 1992, a dozen years after its founding, and focused on sales and backend wineries operations, building the business as we know it today.
Unfortunately, in 1999, Joan was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and after three years of both Koerner and Joan fighting it, she passed away in 2002, ending their 43-year marriage of partnership and love.
Until his death, Koerner continually remembered his first love, from tirelessly working to grow and elevate their winery legacy to establishing an endowment in her name at UCSF dedicated to cancer research.
Rombauer Vineyards is more than just a winery; it is the result of determination, patience, faith, and above all love.