Joe Heitz and his wife Alice were true pioneers of modern California winemaking when they moved to the Napa Valley in 1951. Joe earned an advanced degree in oenology from the University of California at Davis and he worked with famed winemaker Andre Tchelistcheff at Beaulieu Vineyards for several years before he and Alice bought a small winery in 1961. Over the decades the couple turned the estate into one of California’s most admired estates. Joe died in 2000 but his children continued to run the estate, making the distinctive Heitz Martha’s Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, among other highly acclaimed wines. In 2018 the estate was sold to Gaylon Lawrence Jr., a businessman whose family owns farmland throughout the Midwest and South as well as banks and industrial enterprises. Lawrence has brought in Napa wine industry veteran Robert Boyd as Heitz CEO. The estate owns 400 acres of vineyards.