Sheldon Richards, proprietor and winemaker
As an oil patch baby, Sheldon started life in west Texas where his geologist father searched for oil and gas. By the time he was 12, the search took the family to Alberta to pursue the same task. When he was 19, his parents moved back to Texas and Sheldon chose to stay in Canada. “West Texas is a pretty bleak place.”
From there he traveled the world and built two log houses on 438 acres of rugged British Columbia mountainside. Sheldon worked in the hospitality business until his two sons were born in the late 80s. Deciding that the business was not conducive to raising a family, while in his mid-thirties, he became a student in public relations. As a student in his 2nd year, he formed Keystone Communications, a communications and marketing company.
In 2003, Sheldon made an abrupt change in life and joined the family-owned Paloma Vineyard in Napa, California. He spent the next six years learning viticulture (grape farming) from his mother and oenology (winemaking) from his father. He became the fulltime Paloma winemaker in 2007 while his father struggled with cancer and finally succumbed in 2009.
Sheldon’s mother passed in 2016 and he assumed all of the roles of a small family-owned vineyard and winery: farming, winemaking, tastings, administration, sales and delivery, and last, but most important—chief glass washer.
Paloma’s 2001 Merlot was the Wine Spectator’s TOP WINE in 2003, out of over 18,000 wines from around the globe. Paloma’s Merlot has been in the WS TOP 100 several times and is considered by many to be California’s benchmark Merlot.
“Spring Mountain, in Napa Valley, is a very special place to be a winegrower,” says Sheldon. “There are a lot of great wines made up here on the mountain.”