Rudy von Strasser
- 6 wines
- 2 styles
Founding father of the Diamond Mountain District
Rudy von Strasser is a Napa legend — he played a huge part in founding the Diamond Mountain District, famous for its Cabernet. By rallying everyone in the region, he put the AVA (American Viticultural Area) on the map in 1999!
Rudy met Naked through Alex Farber — he was looking to expand his portfolio with some beautiful Petite Sirah, but didn’t have enough room in his winery.
Angel funding helped make that Petite Sirah possible. When he brought us his other wines, we knew we’d hit the jackpot! Rudy’s now able to share his wide range of Diamond Mountain District wines with Angels across the country.
Rudy von Strasser's Story
Rudy Von Strasser’s journey into winemaking actually began at the University of New Hampshire while studying agriculture. His goal was to be “The King of Hard Cider” — he even wrote his thesis on hard-cider production. Deciding to travel the country for research, Rudy took up a job at Robert Mondavi Winery with intention to take tips-and-tricks from the wine industry to apply to cider production. It was a year-long job with an unintended consequence. He accidentally fell in love with wine instead.
Like so many winemakers before him, Rudy then enrolled in the famed Enology program at UC Davis — the west coast mecca for wine education. However, unlike anyone before him, Rudy took a chance and wrote a letter to Eric de Rothschild (of the world-famous Château Lafite-Rothschild) asking for an internship for a harvest. He became the first American to receive this internship and spent the 1985 harvest working at the Château. When he returned, Rudy worked at Trefethen in the cellar and then Newton Vineyards as the assistant winemaker under John Kongsgaard. These experiences would end up building the winemaking foundation Rudy would use for Von Strasser Winery and its distinct style.
Summiting a New Napa Valley AVA: Diamond Mountain District
In 1990, Rudy and Rita Von Strasser found the perfect site to build a winery, as well as live and raise their three children. It was in northern Napa Valley, neighboring Diamond Creek — an area known for producing exceptional Cabernet Sauvignon. When the Von Strassers purchased the 30-acre property, it was formally Roddis Estates — home to 6 existing acres of Cabernet. Over the next 30 years, the Von Strasser family worked painstakingly and passionately to showcase their little piece of paradise. That work would include christening Diamond Mountain District as a Napa AVA — making it the smallest, niche region in the valley. And one of its most famous for Cab.
Von Strasser Winery made its mark in wine history with Diamond Mountain District wines. Not only did Rudy spearhead the effort to turn Diamond Mountain into a recognized wine region, he assembled a core group of neighboring grapegrowers to make wines with – to unprecedented success. In those two plus decades, Von Strasser was named Wine and Spirits Magazine's Winery of the Year 13 times.
Rudy the Treasure Hunter
And in 2015, a new opportunity presented itself to Rudy and Rita that they were eager to jump on: Lava Vine Winery. It was a small tasting room and winery just across the valley with its own cult following — a fervent fan base that loved the “alternative varietals” to Cab, including Pinot Noir, Zinfandel, Tempranillo, Petite Sirah and many more small-lot projects. Rudy's eyes twinkled at the challenge. Today, the Von Strasser family produces Rudy, Lava Vine and Von Strasser wines.
"Von Strasser continues to be our flagship – specifically, single-vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon. Lava Vine is our 'ABC' wine: Anything But Cabernet. [The Rudy brand is] négociant-style, where you get the best value. While we do make many wines now, these wines are very exclusive — with limited case production."
How Angel Funding Changed Him
In 2018, Angel-funded winemakers Alexandra Farber and Ryan O’Connell met Rudy and introduced him to Naked Wines. He jumped at the opportunity to share his wines with a larger audience — to spread the word about the region he had a hand in establishing — and there couldn’t be a more perfect winemaker to introduce Angels to the unique mountain fruit of Diamond Mountain District.
Rudy began by introducing Angels to His Diamond Mountain District Cabernet Sauvignon. When that flew off the shelf, he upped his game and introduced the Angels to some of the great single-vineyard bottlings from that AVA, Sori Bricco Vineyard and Vineyard 2131.
Realizing he could make many more wines to share with wine drinkers across the country, he developed The Strasser Collection, which is exclusively available to Angels. The Strasser Collection gives him freedom to explore new and exciting vineyard sites beyond Diamond Mountain, and varietals beyond Cabernet Sauvignon. Clearly a man with a taste for the not-yet-discovered, by supporting Rudy you’re giving him an opportunity to bottle the Next Big Thing before other winemakers catch wind of it. The seal displayed on each bottle of the Strasser Collection was passed to Rudy from his father, and it serves as a stamp of authenticity and quality — he’d never even think of delivering anything less.
I am a computer geek working for a large consumer products company. I have always liked wine to a certain extent since I was old enough to drink it (or my parents would let me try it). However, I was seriously bit by the wine bug a number of years ago and began trying everything! I now have a cellar with over 200 bottles (and really shouldn't according to my wife, as I am the only one in the house that likes wine). Of course, it means I need to have more people over to share it with :). Bas vers le haut!
I live in Missoula, Montana where I am a retired lawyer/Insurance Company CEO. I love the Naked Wine concept and the camaraderie of the host of angels and angelic winemakers I am getting to know. Good wine, great price and good friends, what more could I ask. I see NakedWines as a supersocial network with benefits;