Gann Family Cellars
- Gretchen and Michael Gann Schmahl
- Healdsburg, CA
Gann Family Cellars is the result of a long-held dream of ours. As a California native, Michael's family has a long history in Northern California that began in 1871 when Isaac W. Gann moved here, from the east, to purchase 154 acres of agricultural property. Six generations later, we have the privilege of continuing this family tradition with our Gann Family Vineyard.
Our story begins in 1984, at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, where we met. While we were dating, we were introduced to the emerging wine country of the Central Coast. From there, our wine interest grew significantly, especially when we moved to the Bay Area after graduating in 1986. Here we had the chance to regularly visit the wine country of Napa and Sonoma counties and learn more about wine from Gretchen's brother, who had recently graduated from UC Davis with a degree in Enology. Our entertaining, whether family or friends, centered around wonderful food, wine and conversations about making our own wine "some day".
In 1995, while attending graduate business school at Saint Mary's, Michael had the opportunity to study the wine industry. The project provided an opportunity to analyze the underlying economics, compare different business models, as well as build a comprehensive business plan for our dream...while at the same time, completing a class assignment. He finished his MBA with a sense that all of the puzzle pieces were starting to come together: a growing passion for wine, a brother-in-law who could help us get the dream rolling, and the tools of how to smartly invest in our dream.
Over the next several years, we continued our individual careers, kept our dream on the back-burner and brought two daughters into our lives, Elizabeth and Natalie. It wasn't until late 2001 that we began seriously researching vineyard properties. After patiently evaluating 80 different properties in Napa and Sonoma, we finally found our perfect vineyard in Healdsburg. With the purchase of this estate, it was now time to give up the corporate life and start a new chapter.
However, this is really only the beginning -- phase one of many. We now have dreams of building our own winery facility and tasting room, a destination where those who enjoy wine can meet to share stories and sample our dream. We also have dreams of passing stewardship of our beautiful vineyard to future Gann generations, with the hope that they will enjoy this life with the same passion that we do.