kor bell

Wine Tasting
Korbel offers daily tours with tastings. They also have the Korbel Delicatessen and Market on sight with a variety of lunches and snacks. Korbel wines and sparkling cocktails can be purchased by the glass and enjoyed on site. Tastings are available in the tasting room.

Wine Club
Korbel offers six different levels in their Korbel Wine Club ranging from 4 bottles shipped 4 times per year to 12 bottles shipped twice a year. Various styles of sparkling and still wine may be chosen. Benefits vary but include member only sales, event discounts and discounts on additional wine, brandy and merchandise purchases.

Type of Producer
Vineyard ownership information is not available. Korbel controls over 1700 acres. Many grapes come from the Russian River area of Sonoma, but may be sourced throughout the state for specific wines.

Overall Producer Style
The overall Korbel style leans toward sweet, fruity and soft.

Annual Production
Over 1.3 million cases are produced. .

Korbel's Key People

Current Owner
Division of F. Korbel Brothers, Inc. (privately owned).

Chef de Cave
Paul Ahvenainen (since 2003)
Paul began working at Korbel in 1985 after graduating from U.C. Davis with his degree in enology. He worked his way up through the ranks from positions in the laboratory, cellar and grower relations. He became one of the Korbel winemakers in 1996, then senior winemaker in 1999 and eventually Director of Winemaking in 2003.

Gary Heck


Korbel Cellars has been producing wine since 1882. They began making sparkling wine using the traditional method in the 1890s.. The winery has used the term California "champagne" for more than a century and contends that the word "champagne" is a generic term regardless of the site of production.

The three Korbel brothers, Anton, Francis and Joseph, were emigrants from what is now Czechoslovakia. Francis had been arrested during a protest of the monarchy in Prague and escaped from prison after two years confinement and fled the country. His brothers joined him in New York and they eventual made their way to California. Francis and his brothers started a cigar box manufacturing business in San Francisco and purchased land in Sonoma county for the redwood timber.

After a fire destroyed their factory in 1876, they focused their efforts on the timber business in Sonoma. After most of the trees had been cut down, they looked for new ways to profit from the land and eventually decided the area was ideal for grapes and a winery. The wine business grew throughout the 1880s and in the mid 1890s, the first sparkling wine was produced after Franz Hazek came on board as a winemaker. During Prohibition the winery was allowed to make and sell small amounts of wine for religious and medicinal purposes.The winery was passed down to family members after the three brothers died. The family eventually decided to sell the winery after World War II with an agreement that the Korbel name would continue. It was sold to three brothers from Alsace, France: Paul, Ben and Adolf Heck in 1954. Adolf, the oldest took the reins and brought new creativity to the winery. He had already established himself as a winemaker at other wineries across the country. Adolf''s son, Gary, was appointed president in 1982. In 2003, Finnish born Paul Ahvenainen was appointed Director of Winemaking.

Korbel contines to label their sparkling wine "California champagne". The term "champagne" has been widely used in countries other than France until recently when the European Union and organizations such as the Comite Interprofessional du Vin de Champagne objected to the use of the term "champagne" on labels of wines not specifically produced in the Champagne region of France. Korbel asserts that the term is used generically and points out that the law allows producers who have a long term established reputation and identity linked to the branding of their products to continue using that branding.

Korbel Contact Information

Korbel Winery
13260 River Road
Guerneville, CA 95446S


Visitor Information
Telephone: 707-824-7000

Open Days / Hours
The wine shop and tasting room are open daily from 10am -4:30pm. Hours for the Delicatessen are 9am to 4:30pm daily. Closed Christmas and Thanksgiving days.

*The winery tour is a 50 minute tour through the historic cellars and museum. A tasting is included at the end. Tours are offered 7 days a week at 11am, 12pm, 1pm, and 3pm. Reservations are not required for groups less than 10
*The Garden Tour of the impressive grounds is offered mid April through mid October, Tuesday through Sunday at 1pm and 3pm.

Please contact Korbel directly for updates on open days, tours, etc.

Related Subjects

  • About the winery and it's key people
  • Contact and tour information
  • A history of the winery


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