September 25, 2023

Bonny's Vineyard

Episode #581 – Perfectly Paired Part 2. Life, Love and Lessons Learned Under the Silver Oak

This episode of Grape Encounters is the second part of our visit with Bonny Meyer, who co-founded one of the most revered luxury wine brands in California history, Silver Oak. Bonny’s just-released autobiography, Perfectly Paired, recounts the truly remarkable story behind the birth of this highly sought-after Napa Valley Cab that almost instantly became the gold standard of California reds. We started the conversation in Episode 580 which reveals the remarkable love story between Christian Brother Justin Meyer and a shy, young girl planning to become a nun. It was a forbidden romance that they tried to extinguish, but couldn’t… and what followed was a fairy tale romance so passionate that it manifested itself in a brand that helped shape the Napa Valley into one of the world’s most revered wine regions.

Back in the sixties, the Napa Valley was a humble little place. The residents there were wonderful, hardworking people who never imagined their beloved valley would evolve into the crown jewel of American winemaking. Bonny says, “When I first moved here in 1972, most of the people walking around St. Helena were wearing work shirts and work boots and jeans and Justin and I showed up. He had been a monk. I had been in college, and the sum total of our fortune was he had a dog and I had a car. Together, we became the ranch managers and moved into the old farmhouse where I still live. A lot of things have changed since then.”

She continues, “Justin and I had this wonderful, epic, romance and love affair for 35 years. And then he suddenly died and, and that was devastating and in a word, although much more complex than that. And then the day after he died, my daughter arrived. She and I were lying on our bed. Across from the bed about 10 feet away was a fountain that was in a little niche in the wall and it had pebbles in it. And as we were quietly talking about her dad, a pebble flew across the room and landed next to her. And Holly and I looked at the pebble on the floor. We looked at each other, we looked at the pebble again. And then she quietly said, “Hi Daddy.”

That’s just a little taste of the incredible stories that Bonny shares in this very surreal story will make you laugh, cry and rethink everything you feel about love, loss and living a life in a deeper, fuller way. Check out their full story in Perfectly Paired.

Today’s edition of Grape Encounters is brought to you by Total Wine & More, where you’ll find thousands of wines produced by folks who started with a dream and never looked back. Be sure to spend a little time online at You’ll be very glad you did!

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