Winery was founded by two Italian brokers from Tuscany, Giuseppe and Pietro Simi.
They began making wine in 1876 in San Francisco, using Sonoma County grapes. In
1881, they moved their production facilities to the little town of Healdsburg,
situated in Sonoma County, where they completed construction of their own cellars
in 1890. These historic stone cellars are still used for aging Simi's fine wines
When both brothers died in 1904, Giuseppe's fourteen-year-old daughter, Isabelle,
took over management of the winery and ran it as a successful family concern until
1970, when she retired and sold the winery to Alexander Valley grape grower, Russell
In 1974, Mr. Green sold the winery to Michael Dixon, on behalf of Scottish & Newcastle, a British wine and spirit concern. When Scottish & Newcastle divested itself of its American holdings in 1976, Mr. Dixon arranged for the sale of Simi Winery to Schieffelin & Company, a New York-based marketing and distribution organization that wanted a fine California wine to include in its portfolio. Mr. Dixon remained President of Simi following the sale.
In 1979 Mr. Dixon hired Zelma Long to share the work of recreating Simi as a super premium Winery. Her eight years of experience as head ecologist at the Robert Mondavi winery had established her as one of the best technical minds in the wine industry. Under her direction, a new, state-of-the-art fermentation cellar was built, a must chiller was designed and installed, stainless steel tanks replaced old redwood vats, and small French oak barrels were introduced for the aging of fine red and white wines.
In 1981, Schieffelin & Company was acquired by LV/MH, Moet-Hennessy/Louis Vuitton, one of France's largest luxury product companies. Moet-Hennessy's understanding of Simi's commitment to quality, based on its own historic reputation for fine wines, and its dedicated financial support have allowed Simi to commit itself to uncompromised excellence in wine quality.
In the early 1980's, to fulfill its goal of making the finest wines, Simi acquired through long-term lease and purchase, 175 acres of vineyard property in the Alexander Valley, a viticultural region renowned for its Cabernet grapes, and planted it largely to red Bordeaux varietals. These grapes now comprise nearly all of Simi's Cabernet Sauvignon, and have proved to be of outstanding quality.
Extensive experimentation in-the Alexander Valley Vineyards with not only Bordeaux varietals, but also with Chardonnay, spurred Simi to purchase and develop another 100 acres of land in the Russian River Valley viticultural region of Sonoma County. The Acreage was planted with a variety of Chardonnay clones and root stock. The vineyard's first harvest was in 1992.
On January 1, 1989, Michael Dixon became Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, and Zelma Long was named President and Chief Operating Officer. Michael retired as Chairman on December 31, 1990, and Zelma, as President and CEO, continues working closely with the Simi winemaking team that combines tradition and innovation to maintain Simi's status as a world class winery.
Simi Winery now produces about 150,000 cases annually. It makes four varietal wines: Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Rose of Cabernet, as well as a proprietary white wine, SENDAL. Its wines are marketed both nationally and internationally. Simi's goal is to unify and orchestrate every factor affecting wine quality from vineyard site to cork and label in order to consistently make excellent wines, wines with complexity, balance, and finesse, and a characteristic style that is unique to Simi.
Simi Winery / 16275 Healdsburg Avenue / Healdsburg, CA 95448 / 707-433-6981