Great Wine Estates Are Created in Generations

"It takes time to develop a deep understanding of a piece of land. I will be a better steward of Quintessa for the next 30 years from the knowledge I’ve gained from my parents’ stewardship over the past 30 years."

Agustin Huneeus

Born in Santiago, Chile, Agustin Huneeus began his career there and is one of the few vintners who has dedicated his entire professional life to the wine industry. He entered the wine business in 1960 as Chief Executive Officer of Concha y Toro. Then a small winery, Concha y Toro grew to become Chile's largest winery under Agustin's leadership. In 1971, Chile's difficult political climate led Agustin to leave his home country. He subsequently headed Seagram's worldwide operations, responsible for wineries in seven countries, including the United States. He founded Noble Vineyard in 1977, which later acquired Concannon Vineyard, a premium winery in the Livermore Valley.

Agustin became partner and acting President of Franciscan Estates in 1985. Under his leadership, the ailing company was transformed into a successful group of premium wine estates. In 1999, Agustin sold his interest in Franciscan Estates. Today, he devotes his time to realizing his dream of developing Quintessa into a world-class wine estate.

Agustin was awarded the Distinguished Service Award by the Wine Spectator in 1996. He is an accomplished and enthusiastic cellist, skier and horseman.

Agustin Francisco Huneeus

Agustin Francisco Huneeus began his career in the wine business in 1989 after graduating from the University of California at Berkeley, then relocated to his family’s native Chile where he was instrumental in developing and managing his family’s wine estates. After two years, he returned to California to become general manager of Estancia Estates.  To expand his knowledge and skills, Huneeus received an MBA from Northwestern University’s Kellogg Graduate School of Management, going on to join a branded consumer venture group, gaining management and marketing experience with several consumer product companies. By1996, Huneeus had joined his father at Franciscan Estates to lead the winery’s sales and marketing team.

In 2004, Huneeus began a new venture with his father, launching Huneeus Vintners, a company dedicated to building a portfolio of respected wine estates that includes Quintessa, Flowers, Faust and Illumination. Chief among these is Quintessa, founded in 1989 by his parents Agustin and Valeria. Today, this extraordinary estate reflects the family’s vision as the quintessential Napa Valley vineyard, producing one of the finest wines in the world.

Respecting family tradition, Agustin Francisco Huneeus served as honorary chair of Auction Napa Valley 2016, twenty years after his father Agustin Huneeus held the same role in Napa Valley’s most distinguished charity event.

Valeria Huneeus

"I believe that we are stewards of the land." This is the quietly stated philosophy of Valeria Huneeus, Ph.D., microbiologist, viticulturist and architect of the Quintessa vineyard. Valeria stumbled on the Rutherford property during a time when she was searching for a new vineyard management project, one that would allow her to work closer to her husband than had her previous commitments. Her vision and perseverance made it possible to buy the property in 1990, which more than a dozen other suitors had failed in their efforts to purchase.

Born in Chile, Valeria originally intended to study medicine, but redirected her love of science into viticulture and enology. After graduating from the University of Chile, she worked as a viticulturist in the Southern Hemisphere. When Valeria and Agustin moved to New York and began a family, Valeria broadened her interests, pursuing a Ph.D. in biochemistry from Columbia University. She then spent ten years doing research in cholesterol and cell metabolism with the Veterans Administration and the University of California at San Francisco.

"I wanted to see the sun again," she smiles, explaining the next curve in her career: developing the Mistral vineyard in Santa Clara County with her husband.  This project gave her valuable practical experience that she was able to use in the development of Quintessa. "Quintessa was a rare opportunity," she reflects, "but the topography was a great challenge." An avid proponent of a sustainable approach to agriculture that seeks harmony with the land, Valeria took special care to be respectful of the landscape and the soil. Many other facets of this philosophy have been applied to the development of the Quintessa vineyard and its daily care.