Falling in Love with Magical Mount Veeder
“When you drive up and down Route 29 through Napa Valley at night and see those little dots of light twinkling high up in the hills, you may wonder who lives there. Well, it’s us,” said Laura Schermeister. “And for us, this special place has stolen our hearts.” If they weren’t so busy making their wines, Laura and Rob Schermeister could write a movie script based on their love story. It began over a bottle of wine—Rob’s own Pinot Noir—and the website he had hired Laura to design for his winery. Laura’s temporary stint in wine country turned permanent when the couple began dating, leading Laura to adopt a new lifestyle in a tiny, isolated cabin on the slopes of Mount Veeder, far from her previous life in Charlotte, North Carolina.
“As a city girl new to Napa, I was shocked at the housing options, and this 400-square- foot cabin was all that was available,” said Laura. “I was lucky to get it. The views over Oakville and Atlas Peak were simply stunning, but it was rough. There was often no power in winter. This is where I learned to chop wood, to live among scorpions and spiders, and to embrace the dark alone where coyotes and mountain lions roamed free. It completely and fundamentally changed me.”
In due course, Rob moved in and the couple got married at The Cove behind the property. Just three months later, the October 2017 wildfires came and their cabin was gone. The newlyweds lost everything but a computer, a cat, and the wedding clothes they’d carried away, plus a mug and a bird feeder the fire had spared. But they also made some new best friends, another couple at the temporary shelter, where they all talked of Mount Veeder’s magnetic pull and vowed to return
As the couple had been in the process of opening a tasting room, also gone were capsules, corks, and labels. But, they were determined to re-group and re-settle on Mount Veeder.
“This place is magical,” said Laura. “We have learned how to lose everything, yet also how to love nature and keep our constant connection to the earth.”
Robert and Laura are sole owners and operators of Schermeister Winery, so they do everything from making wine to designing the labels for bottles to hosting visitors. Their intimate, creek- side Glen Ellen tasting room inside the town’s oldest building is the only place for a wine tasting experience with the Schermeisters since annual production is extremely limited at 700 cases. “We had an incredible first year after opening in December 2018—way more success than we’d anticipated,” Laura said. “We specialize in native fermented wines, all unfiltered.” It’s “old school” production and vegan-friendly. Always high in quality but never predictable, these wines vary from year to year as native yeasts and microclimates shift. This greatly appeals to wine club members, who are bringing Schermeister Wines closer to complete allocation.
Jack London Village
14301 Arnold Drive, Studio 28, Glen Ellen 707-934-8953 // www.schermeister.com
Article By: Laurie Jo Miller Farr