Joseph Swan Vineyards is legendary in the history of California Pinot Noir. The Russian River Estate is admired as one of the first successful California producers of Burgundian style Pinot Noir. Vineyards existed on the estate in the 19th century, but in 1967 a retired commercial airline pilot named Joseph Swan bought the property – then 13 acres and a few old buildings – and started making wine. Though Swan grew up in North Dakota where his family disdained alcohol, his flying career offered him unlimited opportunities to taste wine, and he became increasingly interested in winemaking and viticulture. For a few years Swan made Zinfandel from the old vines on his small estate. But winemaking master André Tchelistcheff, a friend and highly influential winemaker, convinced Swan to plant cool climate varietals of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, and within a few years Swan was producing Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Swan was firmly committed to small scale winemaking and old-world wine traditions, and the estate remained a limited production operation where Swan could be involved in every aspect of production. Swan died in 1989 but his daughter Lynn Berglund and son-in-law Rod Berglund own and operate Joseph Swan Vineyards. Rod is also the winemaker. The estate continues to focus on Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, though it also produces small amounts of Zinfandel, Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier and other wines.