It takes a combination of talents and passions to make a great wine. What ends up in the glass is never a solo effort. At Lerner Project, the team is small, but they share a huge passion for translating the authentic characteristics of vine, soil and climate - the terroir of Napa Valley - into wines that bear the Lerner Project label. They accomplish this with mutual dedication and patience, one bottle at a time.
Proprietor Stu Lerner has spent the last four decades nurturing his deep appreciation for the great vineyards and wines of Napa Valley. He has shared his journey over the years with his wife, Karen, along with their friends and family. More recently, alongside winemaker and business partner Russell Bevan, the Lerners have turned their dream of their own Napa Valley winery into reality.
"I've had a passion for Napa Valley wines for such a long time that if I was ever to make my own, I wanted to try to make the best wine in the world." - Stu Lerner
Stu and Karen Lerner
Stu and Karen have lived the majority of their married life in the San Francisco East Bay. In the early 80s, Stu started his career as a wooden pallet supplier to the wineries in Napa and Sonoma Counties. His contacts introduced him to some of California's most prestigous wineries. A passion for wine emerged and his collection began! He built a successful business across seven states while Karen assisted with the accounting. In 2015, they retired and started a new "project" with the goal of making amazing wines, which focus on the unique qualities of each chosen vineyard. Stu's "hands on" approach is anything but retirement. "My feeling as to why I do this is: I like physical work; and I can literally say that I touch every bottle in some way."
The last decade has been very good to Russell Bevan. Having collected 11 100-point scores from Robert Parker and being chosen Wine Advocate's Wine Maker of the Year in 2015, it's no surprise that he caught Stu and Karen's attention. Russell's winemaking story began with a single ton of high-quality Oakville Cabernet Sauvignon grapes, gifted by a grower friend during the 2004 harvest. The Parker scores and attendant notoriety followed several years later, but only after a lot of effort and focused dedication to the craft of fine winemaking. "I knew it was going to captivate me, but I wasn't prepared for exactly how overwhelmed I was by different clusters of Oakville Cabernet grapes. It blew my mind, and here I am to this day at each and every harvest, just like I was during that first one."
Our goal is to encourage the personality of each individual vineyard and the unique elements inherent to that place with the talent and desire to build wines of incredible intensity and balance. Learn more about our wines.