News & Press
After building Golden State Vintners into the country’s fourth largest winery, taking it public and then selling it, Marin County native Jeff O’Neill founded O’Neill Vintners & Distillers in 2004. It’s steadily grown into the 10th largest winery in America, with 13 nationally distributed brands and two dozen private-label wines — all amounting to more than seven million cases produced annually.
“We basically brought coastal winemaking techniques to the Central Valley,” says O’Neill of the value-minded wines he makes primarily in Parlier, California. “We’re trying to please many consumers rather than a few upper luxury consumers.”
Pledging a philosophy of “no drama,” he’s proud of treating people right. In an industry still dominated by white males, almost half of O’Neill’s 350 employees are female, 40 of them in executive-level roles. Alongside former NFL star (and Intercept vintner) Charles Woodson, O’Neill started four-year scholarships for BIPOC students at Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo and Sonoma State. And this year, O’Neill Vintners became a certified B Corporation, putting transparency, charity and equity above the bottom line.
O’Neill’s sustainability initiatives may change the entire industry. He installed enough solar panels to power the company’s bottling, cooperage and storage operations and created the county’s largest worm-powered wastewater treatment system in the wine industry. He’s testing the effects of large-scale regenerative farming at Robert Hall Winery in Paso Robles, which he purchased six years ago, and just launched ingredient-labeling on his Harken Chardonnay. By 2024, 100% of the grapes that they purchase from more than 200 farmers across 15,000 acres of vineyard will be certified as sustainable.