Henry and Vanessa Cornell


Cornell Vineyards
Sonoma, CA

Having lived a significant portion of his life overseas, Henry Cornell learned early on that wine is an excellent way to connect with people of different cultures. “I always bring a bottle of wine to lunch or dinner; it’s an icebreaker.” And while a lifetime of tasting, reading, learning and collecting naturally led to an appreciation of European wines, when it came time to start his own wine venture – the “logical conclusion to this lifelong love of mine” – Henry settled on California. Time spent in the 1970’s as a young adult in San Francisco acquainted him with some of the “classic” California Cabernets – wines like BV, Montelena, Raymond, Heitz – and it was a wine profile Henry never forgot. When he first saw the property that would become Cornell Vineyards, he was smitten. “The sheer beauty and history of this property drew me in. I had to make a wine from this place.”


Vanessa Cornell lives in New York with her husband, Henry, and their five children. Like her family, she is moved by the property at Cornell Vineyards, which inspired her to launch an artist in residence program and develop a culinary garden, including a dedicated tea garden among the vineyards. She also leads the branding and marketing strategy for Cornell Vineyards.


She is the founder of NUSHU Society, a women’s membership community grounded in wellness and empowerment. In addition, she serves on the Leadership Council of the Mt. Sinai Children’s Health and Development Institute and is involved in women’s alumnae initiatives at her alma maters, St. Paul’s School and Harvard College. Passions include surfing, rock climbing, contemporary Japanese ceramics and wine.