After a period of time working at Chateau Souverain and Robert Mondavi Winery, Warren Winiarski founded Stag's Leap Wine Cellars in 1970, producing the first vintage in 1972. The second vintage in 1973, was rated top red wine, out ranking Bordeaux, at the Judgement of Paris in 1976, firmly placing the winery in the international arena. Expansion followed with the purchase of neighbouring 'Fay' Vineyard in 1986 and a Chardonnay vineyard, 'Arcadia', in 1996.
Another winery named Stag's Leap, was also established in 1970 by Carl Doumani. A lawsuit was initiated by Winiarski and counter claimed by Doumani, eventually being settled in 1986 by the California Supreme Court. As the wineries were named after the area, the court decided both would be allowed to use the name but Winiarski would keep the apostrophe before the S in Stag's Leap and Doumani would place the apostrophe after the S. The two men worked to prevent the Stags Leap AVA from being created but were unsuccessful and in 1986 it was established as a sub-region of the Napa Valley AVA.
The winery was sold to Chateau Ste. Michelle Estates and Marchesi Antinori Srl for $185 million in 2007, although Winiarski kept the Arcadia Vineyard but continues to supply grapes to the winery on a contract basis.
The Winery's flagship wine, Cask 23, is only produced in years when the fruit is deemed to be of exceptional quality. The estate also produces other notable wines: Fay Estate Cabernet Sauvignon and S.L.V Estate Cabernet Sauvignon.
Following fermentation, the wine is aged in 7% new French oak for 9 months