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The People

A Story of Preservation

& Transformation

Jeremy Nickel is a preservationist and guardian at his core, with the inherent ability to create and innovate while protecting land and history. He has assembled a dream team that holds the same passion for preservation and focus on quality.

Jeremy Nickel in cowboy had holding wine glass
Jeremy Nickel next to The Vineyard House barrel

Jeremy Nickel

Jeremy’s passion,
foresight and focus on quality has set the stage for unbridled success

A strong team requires a strong leader. Jeremy has entered a new chapter in life, leaving behind a life plagued by addiction. His journey to recovery and wellness is inspired and fueled by his faith and a perpetual quest for self-improvement. Connection with people and building strong relationships is important to Jeremy. By publicly sharing his story, he hopes to inspire those who are suffering to find the strength in themselves to win the battle against addiction.

Jeremy leads with boundless energy and generosity of heart, ferociously focused on creating exceptional wines. Jeremy’s personal journey of renewal mirrors his vision for reviving The Vineyard House to its deserving glory, honoring the legacy of his father, and preserving and sharing the gifts of this special place.


The best way to express gratitude for opportunity and success is through philanthropy. This is why we donate a portion of our proceeds to cancer research and educational organizations in Africa.

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Nickel family photos collage

Honoring The Past

Living In The Present,

Building For The Future

Gil Nickel
Gil Nickel on motorcycle
Gil and Beth Nickel
Gil Nickel holding bottle of wine

Gil Nickel

Gil was driven by his ideals, loyalties, friendships and sense of humor

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Gil, Beth and Jeremy Nickel on boat
Gil Nickel with large wine bottle in cave
Gil and Beth Nickel
Gil and Jeremy Nickel

The Vineyard House is a loving tribute to Jeremy’s late father, Gil Nickel, creator of three of Napa’s most iconic wineries. Gil was also a gifted nurseryman, champion vintage auto racer, avid motorcyclist and guided missile analyst. While his passions were many, his friends and longtime associates agree that Gil was driven more by his ideals, loyalties, friendships, and sense of humor, than his business interests. In the Fall of 2003, Gil passed away after a courageous battle against melanoma.

Born Harold Gilliland Nickel in 1939 in Muskogee, OK, Gil
studied Physics and Math at Oklahoma State University and graduated in 1961. After college, he served with the Oklahoma Air National Guard and achieved a service ribbon for his tour of duty in Vietnam. At the conclusion of active duty, Gil relocated to Southern California, where he worked as a guided missile analyst at the United States Navy laboratory in Corona, CA.


Eventually, Gil returned home to Oklahoma to join his father, Harold, and older brother, John, in managing the family’s Greenleaf Nursery Company, which was founded by Harold Nickel in 1945 as a small retail operation. Together, the brothers grew the nursery from its small-company roots to the second largest, family-owned wholesale nursery in the United States, a position it continues to hold today.

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Harold and Gil Nickel

The unique characteristics of the estate,

expert winemaking, attentive vineyard

management and a fearless leader is

a powerful combination.

The unique characteristics of the estate, expert winemaking, attentive vineyard management and a fearless leader is a powerful combination.

Our Team

Philippe Melka & Maayan Koschitzky


Philippe brings over 30 years of winemaking experience from renowned Chateaux and Wineries mostly located in Bordeaux, France and Napa Valley, United States.
Maayan Koschitzky was born and raised in Israel and moved to Napa in 2011. He was named one of the “40 under 40” by Wine Enthusiast in 2019. In addition to making wine for some of the finest wineries in Israel, Maayan has an impressive list in Napa Valley, including Screaming Eagle and Dalla Valle.

Jim Barbour tending grape vines

Jim Barbour

Vineyard Manager

For decades, Jim Barbour has been one of Napa Valley’s most sought-after vineyard managers. He works hand-in-hand with our winemakers and meticulously cares for our vines, resulting in stellar fruit.

Jason Stempf holding wine glass

Jason Stumpf

Director of DTC and Hospitality

Jason Stumpf, a native of Fargo, North Dakota, has a wide breadth of knowledge working at luxury restaurants, bars, hotels, a private golf club and Davis Estates in Calistoga.

Jason’s first trip to Napa Valley was in 2008 when he took a wine class taught by Master Sommelier, Tim Gaiser, at the Culinary Institute of America. He then received his Certified Sommelier status while working as Food and Beverage Director at Somerby Golf Club in SE Minnesota. After eight years working as the General Manager, Jason felt drawn back to Napa Valley in 2022.

Jason is excited to be a part of The Vineyard House team, fostering a culture of exceptional hospitality through innovation, passion and building relationships with people through sharing stories.

Winemaking Team

The wines are made with the help of Atelier Melka, whose team oversees every critical decision in the winemaking process, including picking decisions, vinification and élevage, and the most critical practice: blending.

The Vineyard House winemaking team

Winemaking Philosophy

The key to excellence at The Vineyard House is “micro-fermentation.” Individual parcels—often mere rows—are picked at optimum ripeness, then vinified separately in three to five-ton lots. After following the wines’ development for a year, Nickel, Melka, and Koschitzky determine the optimal blend for each bottling. Vinifying small lots means the potential of each row, then each barrel, is maximized in the final blends.


Well-known for his work with luminaries like Grace Family, Hundred Acre, and Blankiet, Jim Barbour’s almost 50 harvests in Napa Valley and expertise with organic and biodynamic farming ensure that each individual block receives unwavering attention, down to the individual vine.

The Vineyard House vineyard management crew

Vineyard Philosophy

Known for his skill in developing hillside parcels, Jim Barbour oversaw the planting of selected blocks at The Vineyard House. He believes that once a vineyard is planted properly—with correct rootstocks and clones for the site—the rest is consistency, with the same team practicing “clean” viticulture every year. Rigorous crop thinning and canopy management are keys to harvesting perfect fruit.

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