The birth of Korbel Champagne Cellars dates back to the early 1880’s when the three Czechoslovakian Korbel brothers from the province of Bohemia, started off making cigar boxes in San Francisco, which later transitioned into a sawmill and dairy farm in the storied Russian River Valley near Guerneville.
Trying their hand at winemaking and being somewhat successful, the Korbel’s produced 20,000 to 30,000 gallons of wine and experimenting with various grape varietals such as Pinot Noir. By 1892, the Korbel brothers were officially in the burgeoning wine business.
It was during this time that the Korbel’s sent for winemaker Frank Hasek in Prague to come to the United States to be their champagne master. It was Hasek who employed the time-honored French method of producing champagne, aka méthode champenoise, which catapulted Korbel Champagne Cellars to great success in the wine business.
Prohibition took its toll on many wineries in the 1920’s with forced closures. Korbel Champagne Cellars was able to survive due to the brothers’ other business ventures. In 1954 the winery was purchased by family friend, Adolph Heck, who was credited for patenting an automatic riddling process which was vital to the business, enabling the champagne bottles to be turned at precise moments during the fermentation process. [Read more…]