Our Story

1950

Bruce Cohn moves with family from Chicago to Sonoma County

1970

Bruce Cohn begins managing the Doobie Brothers

1974

Bruce Cohn purchases land and vineyard that would become Olive Hill Estate, begins selling grapes to local wineries

1978

Charlie Wagner of Caymus Vineyards family, encourages Bruce to ask for vineyard designation on wines made with his grapes

1980

Gundlach-Bundschu Olive Hill Cabernet selected by the White House as a gift to China, representing a stellar example of a California red wine.

1984

Founding of BR Cohn Winery. First winemakers include Helen Turley, Merry Edwards, and Steve MacRostie.

1987

Inaugural Charity Fall Music Festival

1990

Founded B.R. Cohn Olive Oil Company

2004

Current winemaker, Tom Montgomery, joins BRCohn

2011

Charity Fall Music Festival celebrates 25 years

2014

Celebrating 40 years. Bruce Cohn’s son, Dan Cohn takes reins as CEO

B.R. Cohn Winery is one of few remaining family owned and operated estate wineries located in the Sonoma Valley. The B.R. Cohn history is rich and is one of the greatest wine stories to be told, a true piece of Americana.

Music Influences

Winery founder Bruce Cohn was introduced to the music industry at an early age. Prior to moving west from Chicago, Illinois, his father sang Italian Arias and his mother was known to have sung with Frank Sinatra in the Chicago nightclub scene. The family also had a strong business acumen owning and running a successful retail shoe business, named Four Cohns. In 1956, the family relocated to the Bay Area and settled in Sonoma County. Bruce later attended the University of San Mateo. While at school, studying broadcasting and communications, he became intimately involved with the San Francisco music scene, running a music rehearsal studio by day and serving as a television engineer at night. It was a heyday for great music and Bruce was often found alongside younger brother Martin Cohn at the many up and coming San Francisco nightclubs and bars which today are known to have spurred the careers of many rock and roll legends. It was around this time, in 1970, that Bruce met and became the manager of the Doobie Brothers. He helped them climb the charts, catapulting them into Rock and Roll stardom and is still their manager today.

Agricultural Retreat

In 1974, to keep some sanity and preserve quality of life, Bruce purchased an old dairy in Glen Ellen which evolved into Olive Hill Estate Vineyard, so-named for the property’s grove of 140-year-old French Picholine olive trees. With drive to cultivate the existing vineyard, Bruce purchased books on viticulture and read them during long periods of traveling with the band. He soon became intensely involved with all aspects of growing grapes, from planting and pruning to grafting and trellising techniques. A decade after taking ownership of the land and having great success selling grapes to other wineries, Bruce founded B.R. Cohn Winery at Olive Hill Estate in 1984

Award Winning Wines & Olive Oils

After selling wine grapes for many years to August Sebastiani and Gundlach Bundschu and seeing the numerous awards the wines with fruit sourced from the Olive Hill Estate were receiving, Bruce took the advice of good friend and mentor Charlie Wagner from Caymus winery and began producing his own wines from the Olive Hill Estate in 1984. Charlie bestowed the greatest honor upon the winery, permitting the use of Caymus’ trademarked “Special Selection” on the best lots from B.R. Cohn Olive Hill Estate. B.R. Cohn Special Selection Cabernet Sauvignon as well as the entire portfolio continues to receive amazing reviews and accolades. The B.R. Cohn library wines continue to impress our wine family members as well as the wine community as they compete with the best from Napa to Bordeaux.
In the 1990’s the family embarked on the journey of processing the olives at the Olive Hill Estate, creating California’s first single estate Picholine Olive Oil and B.R. Cohn Olive Oil Company was founded. Today we produce some of the world’s finest Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

Giving Back to the Community

Always looking for ways to give back to his community, Bruce brought his two life passions together in 1987 by inaugurating the B.R. Cohn Charity Fall Music Festival. Every year, wine lovers and music fans alike flock to the Olive Hill Estate to revel in the beautiful wine country while enjoying top music acts. The proceeds from the concert benefit many local children and veteran charities as well larger national charity organizations.

And the Story Continues…

Bruce and his family live in the Sonoma Valley where he continues his lifelong career in the music business. Daniel Cohn, Bruce’s eldest son, oversees the winery business and serves as CEO of B.R. Cohn Winery and Olive Oil Company; making it a true family operation.Daniel embraces his father’s vision of hospitable excellence, and is committed to bringing B.R. Cohn to new heights in winemaking and offering a 360-degree guest experience.
We encourage you to Visit Us at the Olive Hill Estate.