Flora Springs Winery
A St. Helena native, Paul attended the University of Oregon to study marketing and finance, but returned home to work at Joseph Phelps Vineyards between school years. “I realized I never looked forward to weekends because I couldn’t work. I was enamored with learning how to make wine, and anxious to go to work every day to learn more,” he recalls. That experience, plus an “epiphany” bottle of Howell Mountain Cabernet – “the most spectacular wine I’d tasted to that point” – was all Paul needed to determine he’d pursue a career in the wine industry. In 1990 he jumped at the opportunity to join the Flora Springs team as Assistant Winemaker. He was promoted to Winemaker in 2008.
Throughout his career Paul has continually educated himself through courses at UC Davis and in tasting groups with winemaking peers. He also organizes a barrel tasting each year, inviting coopers and fellow winemakers to taste wines that have been aged in numerous types of barrels. “Outside the vineyard and vinification techniques, the most important component in the character and quality of a wine is the barrel. It’s important to know which barrel works best with each vineyard.”
It is this striving for learning and improvement that defines Paul Steinauer as a winemaker. “We never rest on our laurels; I think complacency is a recipe for failure.” Whether it’s tinkering with a new fermentation technique, a different strain of yeast or malolactic culture, the cap management regimen or a new type of barrel or storage vessel, Paul is always experimenting, always trying something new. “Each year we strive not only to make a great wine, but one that is better than the year before.”
Paul is an avid fly-fisherman and golfer and an intrepid traveler: he has traversed all seven continents (including Antarctica), trekked through most of the world’s major winegrowing regions, and has visited over 40 countries.