“My feeling as to why I do it is this: one, I like physical work; and two, I can literally say I touched every bottle in some way.” As a major wood pallet vendor to Napa Valley and Sonoma County for over four decades, Stu enjoyed a career as an important player in the wine industry supply chain. His connections with such wineries as Silver Oak and Robert Mondavi, including the iconic Opus One, put him in the unique position of being both a purveyor and a collector.
Once retired from his successful business in 2014, Stu’s attention shifted in a different, but related, direction. In the process of amassing a collection of some of the most sought-after wines ever produced in Napa Valley, Karen Lerner recalls him saying many times that if he ever made a wine, it would have to be something he’d also want to buy himself.
It’s hard, demanding work – the opposite of retirement. But, being a hands-on kind of guy, he wouldn’t change anything about the artisan nature of Lerner Project.