About the Niners
Farming roots, a passion for wine, and an appreciation for the bounty and lifestyle of Paso Robles, led Dick Niner to invest in the wine business in San Luis Obispo County.
Dick previously spent 30 years investing in a wide variety of small businesses, in various parts of the United States. Most were turn-arounds, in industries as diverse as air freight, men’s toiletries, candy manufacturing, military electronics, medical devices, garage door openers, electrical-utility cable, sunglasses, and school supplies, to name a few. The common theme in all of them was the need to find a new management team and motivate them to develop the company’s full potential.
“With desirable soils, ample water in many areas, and degree days very similar to parts of the Napa Valley, Paso Robles presented a unique opportunity for him to finally invest in the wine industry.” Over the years, Dick investigated buying several vineyards and wineries, both for himself and other investors. After purchasing a sunglass marketer and manufacturer in San Luis Obispo in 1996, he came to realize the potential of Paso Robles as a perfect environment for growing premium grapes and making fine wines. With degree days very similar to parts of the Napa Valley, ample water in many areas, and desirable soils, Paso Robles presented a unique opportunity for him to finally invest in the wine industry. When the property called Bootjack Ranch came on the market in early 2001, Dick jumped at the chance to buy it. A similar opportunity two years later brought the Heart Hill Vineyard property into the venture. Then, in 2011, nearly ten years after his first vineyard purchase, Dick purchased a third property named Jespersen Vineyard. This vineyard is located in the Edna Valley. Combined these vineyards represent over 450 acres, of which almost 270 are now planted to a mix of Bordeaux, Rhone, Spanish, Burgundian and Italian varieties.
Pam Niner has been an enthusiastic participant in Dick’s vision for Niner Wine Estates, from its conception. Although the descendant of Californians from the Mt. Shasta area, she was born and raised in a suburb of New York City, and educated at Smith College. She and Dick met by chance in New Hampshire in 1959, married 13 years later, and have lived since in Greenwich, Connecticut. They have two children; Andy, working for a real estate investment group in Calabasas, California, and Katy, a freelance writer in Jackson, Wyoming.