THE JAEGER FAMILY LEGACY
In the late 1960’s, William (Bill) P. Jaeger Jr. had a vision when he saw beyond the mere beauty of 650 acres of land surrounding the intersection of Big Ranch Road and Oak Knoll Avenue and knew it would be ideal for the creation and development of fine-wine grapes. Bill soon acquired the land and began planting vineyards on it. Then, together with Gene Trefethen, Bill planted walnut trees along Oak Knoll Avenue between Highway 29 and the Silverado Trail that still define the avenue and frame the vineyards on either side. Operating as Jaeger Vineyards, the premium quality grapes harvested from these vineyards have been sold to fine wineries throughout the Napa Valley.
Bill’s vision was not only limited to vineyards, but included the establishment of fine wineries that helped place Napa Valley on a world-renowned wine destination map of equal par with European countries like France. With only a handful of wineries in the Napa Valley at the time, Bill and his business partners started Freemark Abbey Winery in 1967. Could they have really known what lay in store for the Valley over the next 50 years? With an entrepreneurial spirit, Bill and his partners began planting grapes that would allow Freemark Abbey to grow, yet within a matter of years, it was apparent that there would be more than enough grapes to begin a sister winery.
In 1976, this vision led Bill, his wife Lila and their four children Betsy, Billy, Jeff and Jack to purchase a recently established winery just east of the Silverado Trail in Rutherford. Under their ownership, the winery was renamed Rutherford Hill Winery and flourished over the next 20 years of operation. The winery continues to this day under different ownership, known for its fabulous Merlots, wine caves and scented olive groves, overlooking the picturesque Napa Valley.
Over the years since its inception, Jaeger Vineyards has made continuous quality improvements and changes to its owned vineyards. The Family has recently simplified its business model and beginning in 2019, will own and farm approximately 25 net vine acres of wine grapes. The Jaeger Family continues to follow the legacy their founding father left with their commitment and dedication to excellence in the community. They are involved in many businesses and projects that include improvements to the City of American Canyon, the Napa Valley Community Foundation, Barrel Associates International, Premier Wine Cask, Heritage Barrels and Jaeger Family Olive Oil.