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 Filed as : Featured WinemakersPeopleWinemakers

Following the Blueprint

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  • Publish Date: Apr 13, 2009

Easter and Passover Season are times for historical reflection. We therefore thought it the right time to take a look back at one of the iconic American families in the U.S. wine industry- but not necessarily the first ones that are coming to your mind.

Gustav Niebaum was a quintessential American immigrant who left Russia in his early 20’s to build a fortune as a fur trade in the United States. He used some of that fortune to buy and build Inglenook winery, one of the first in Napa, in the 1880’s. Prohibition hit Inglenook hard, like most, and it wasn’t until John Daniel, Niebaum’s nephew, committed himself to making world-class wine, that Inglenook bounced back in the 1940’s.

Over a half-century later, Robin Daniel Lail (John Daniel’s daughter) carries on the family tradition with her own signature style, producing phenomenal Cabernets from Howell Mountain (since a one Francis Ford Coppolla himself bought the family’s original land, which is now his Rubicon Estate). Together with her husband and daughters, Robin created Lail Vineyards. Robin's second label, Blueprint, is an absolutely delicious California Cabernet for half the price of the Valley’s $100 showpieces, one of the The Daily Sip™ team’s favorites.

For a woman whose first time drinking wine was age five, whose favorite wine memories include presenting the first Dominus samples to her partner Christian Moueix at Petrus, attending Burgundy’s world-renowned Hospice de Beaune in 1980, and creating a wine in her father’s namesake, J. Daniel Cuvee, we think it’s safe to say that her story falls in the cannon of great American winemaking. Click here to read more lesser-known facts about Robin such as her greatest wine disasters and her motto for enjoying life.

For more information on Lail Vineyards or to try Robin's wines visit

Previous Sip

I Only Had One Glass
Under the Super Tuscan Sun

Apr 13, 2009
I love that Blueprint Cab!

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Which district of France, extending from Dijon to Nuits-Saint-Georges, comprises the northern part of the Côte d'Or and contains fourteen communes, six of which have Grand Cru status?