Jerry Komes, the founder of Flora Springs Winery & Vineyards in Napa Valley, died on May 24 from complications of Parkinson's disease. He was 89.
Komes bought 250 acres in St. Helena in 1977 after retiring from the engineering business. Only 50 acres were under vine, and the run-down property required significant upgrades. "[My father] was a self-made man who made himself through hard work, so the idea of retiring and playing golf and dominos didn't suit him," said Julie Garvey, who runs Flora Springs with her brother John.
Initially, Komes planned to just grow grapes, but John had done some home winemaking and wanted to try production. The first efforts were encouraging, and Komes left the day-to-day operation of Flora Springs to his children.
The family is one of the largest landowners in Napa Valley, with over 600 acres in nine locations. The winery's annual output is about 50,000 cases, most of which is Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Chardonnay.