What would become the Shafer estate has its roots in the 1880s with Napa Valley vinegrowing pioneers Jacob Ohl and C.H. Linderman who planted the first vineyards. Much later in 1972 the John Shafer buys up 209 acres of land and plants some plots of Cabernet Sauvignon which would go into the first Shafer Vineyards wine and later the renowned Hillside Select. His first step into winemaking is a single batch of Zinfandel.
In 1983, two years after the first Cabernet Sauvignon from the Shafer estate is available for sale, John Shafer's son, Doug joins the winery as a winemaker. He is convinced that the Sunspot vineyard parcel produces a vastly superior Cabernet. In separating the crop of this parcel, Hillside Select is born. This is also the first vintage of Merlot from the estate.
In the years following, the Shafer estate has only seen more growth and success, moving into sustainable agriculture and renewable energy, and now produces five different wines.