The name “Prodigal” pays tribute to the career paths of original winemaker Stephen Russell. As an early (1960) graduate of the UC Davis Enology program, but not a member of a wine family, he was the first formally-trained enologist to be hired by the Gallo's. After discovering that corporate winemaking didn’t offer the future he had envisioned and after attempting unsuccessfully to raise the money to purchase Freemark Abbey, with a twenty-something’s wisdom he decided to leave the industry. Consternation at the time among those at UCD who had trained him (e.g., Professors M.A. Amerine and H.P. Olmo) was abundantly evident. After returning to school (DVM and PhD) and an academic career in cancer research, he and his wife, Mary, returned to California to found Quinta Santa Rosa Vineyard / Prodigal Wines in 2001. The ‘prodigal son’ had returned!
Prodigal Wines has remained committed to making wines true to the Terroir of Sta. Rills. Hills. Our annual appellation cuvée is highly touted and awarded year after year.