California's newest and largest kosher winemaking facility boasts the longest history.
Last week, the Baron Herzog Winery debuted its 77,000-square-foot winery in Oxnard. The label dates back to 1848, when the Herzog family established an operation in the small Slovakian village of Vrobove. Philip Herzog produced an off-dry Riesling favored by Franz-Josef, the Austrian emperor, who established the winery as his sole supplier and knighted the family patriarch with the title "Baron." In the 1930s, his grandson, Eugene Herzog, watched the Nazis, and, later, the communists take over the winery. When he finally sailed with his family to New York, he arrived in 1948 with more children (six) than dollars. He began working for the Royal Wine Co. as truck driver, sales manager and winemaker. To supplement his meager income, the company paid him in stock. He eventually became a majority stockholder and bought the company in 1958.