Nancy and John Lasseter first met at a computer graphics conference in San Francisco in 1985. They shared a love of storytelling, and soon discovered they both loved wine as well. Each was already in a brown bag tasting group – John at Pixar, and Nancy at Apple. In pursuit of this mutual passion, they would often escape to Wine Country for romantic getaways, and they chose bountiful Sonoma County for their honeymoon.
In the early ‘90’s they sought to put down roots in a small town where they could raise their five children, and it followed naturally that Sonoma Valley would become their home. The, shortly after establishing themselves in the community, they caught the winemaking bug.
Driven by their devotion to wine, they quickly got to work on what would soon become a fruitful new venture. By 1997 they were bottling up their own Bordeaux blend to give out as Christmas gifts, and soon enough, the Lasseter Family Winery was born.
The Lasseters’ zest for living can be seen in every aspect of their winery. John’s love of trains is clearly represented on every bottle of Chemin de Fer; there is even a classic steam locomotive that runs through the estate vineyards. As patrons of the arts, they collected work by several local artists, which led them to commission Dennis Ziemienski to capture their spirit and passion for wine in a series of label paintings. Nancy’s addiction to puzzles then sparked the idea of turning Dennis’ magnificent label images into a collection of wooden jigsaw puzzles as well. When you visit the Wine Room, chances are you’ll find a puzzle in progress.
Much like the grapes used in their handcrafted blends, it is the combined efforts of the entire Lasseter Family that make the estate complete. The Lasseter’s five sons all pitch in with countless projects on the property, including the youngest, who has taken responsibility for tending the estate’s honeybee colonies. As John and Nancy developed the estate, John’s beloved father “Papa,” the winery’s self-proclaimed “sidewalk supervisor” and “estate Doberman,” lived on the property. Papa was always eager to pitch in, and worked tirelessly on harvests and bottlings well into his ‘80s. He served as guardian and inspiration to everyone, and it was a tragic loss for the family when Papa passed away in 2011. Papa’s brother “Uncle Bill” and Bill’s wife “Aunt Ruth” remain regulars at the winery today.
A visit to the winery most often begins with an exuberant “tail wag” greeting from the estate dogs. The Lasseter family dogs, Frank and Chocolate Mousse, greet guests and patrol the vineyards for jackrabbits; winemaker Julia’s pet, Tyler, is up for any game; and neighbor Marcy’s high-spirited dog, Lucy, never misses a party.