Delia Viader

Founder and "Wine Mother", Viader Vineyards & Winery

When Delia discovered an ever-increasing passion for the complexity of wine, she built her first winery on Howell Mountain.

How many years have you been in the Napa Valley wine industry?

I planted 30 acres on Howell Mountain and built a winery more than 30 years ago, after my post-grad studies - all while raising four children as a single mother.

How did you get started in the wine business?

The opportunity arose to purchase land on Howell Mountain in 1986. By then, the infinite complexity of wine and its representation of the unique climate and terroir was my ever-increasing passion, and I somehow convinced my father to help me with a loan!

Which wine was your “a-ha!” wine – the one that made you love wine or inspired you to get into the industry?

I’ll never forget the seductively aromatic Merlot from Pomerol, Bordeaux my parents shared with me at a family dinner when I was barely a teenager. The complexity of its bouquet and everlasting flavors piqued an interest like nothing else before.

Name a Napa Valley vintner who has influenced you and briefly explain why.

Margrit Biever Mondavi’s philosophical approach to life and enduring optimism is something I truly admire and have enjoyed throughout our friendship. Her love and support for the creative and culinary arts is a testament to her open-minded nature and the role she played in nurturing our community.

What do you think makes Napa Valley unique compared to other wine regions?

There’s more to Napa Valley than just the fantastic soil. It’s the people who create a sense of community, a unique type of camaraderie that is specific to Napa Valley. As an immigrant of European upbringing myself, I felt instantly that Napa was my “home away from home,” and I particularly appreciated the open sharing of information within the wine industry.

What are you doing at your winery to help preserve and enhance Napa Valley for the future?

My vision for our family legacy existed before I had even harvested my first vintage in 1989. After my 10th harvest, once we finally started construction on the winery and wine caves, I began outlining a family succession plan. As a single mother and sole provider for my four children, I was determined to have everything set in place as soon as possible, just in case. Moreover, I feel a moral responsibility to practice good land stewardship, to make sure the next generation receives the land in the best condition possible.

What's one thing people would be surprised to know about you?

I have a Doctorate of Philosophy, and my thesis reviewed the concept of freedom and its evolution through the writings of the great philosophers from Thomas Aquinas through the Existentialists.