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Herb Lamb


 

 

 

 

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Herb Lamb


 

 

 

 

In Loving Memory of Herb Lamb

11/22/50 – 12/10/14

 

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Born in Vallejo on Nov. 22, 1950, Herb's family moved to Napa in 1958. He was the second child born to Nelson Harold and Margaret Sterley Lamb.

Herb's education began in the two-room elementary school house in Soda Canyon, Silverado Jr. High, and graduated from Napa High in 1968. His interest in farming began in high school, and some of his first jobs were at Napa Feed in the old mill and at Clark's Farm and Garden. He was active in the Napa Future Farmers of America (FFA), raised and showed cattle and sheep, and also farmed acres of grain and hay where 40-year-old subdivisions now exist throughout Napa. During Junior College at Napa JC, Herb worked for Ruth von Uhlit and her son Raeder, sorting and cutting fruit for their local dried fruit business – from then on, he could never pass up dried fruit, and always compared it to the best of the pears and apricots they had dried in the '60s. He joined the Air Force Reserves in 1969, and the Coast Guard while attending college at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.

After graduating from Cal Poly with a major in Soil Science in 1975, he returned to Napa and started a vineyard consulting business in the nascent local wine industry. In 1983 he and his business partner Dennis Hansen opened the Napa Valley Ag Supply, one of the first agricultural chemical businesses in the Napa Valley. It eventually supplied everything from organic and biodynamic soil amendments to conventional means of pest control. Herb's intimate knowledge of soils and growers in the area were unmatched. In his 35 years of work, he knew every gate code in the valley and became acquainted with nearly every vineyard manager, winery owner, and ranch dog. From large landowners developing vineyard property, to housewives wanting a secret weapon to kill a backyard orchard pest, he consulted with the same consideration and interest. When his daughters were young, he would pile them into the front of his pick-up (with a dog in the back) to personally oversee and direct deliveries to hundreds of properties in the Napa Valley. In 2006, Ag Supply was sold to Wilbur-Ellis, and Herb went right back to work for them the next day to continue to serve the valley's vineyards.

In 1987, Herb and Jennifer found a small hillside property in the foothills of Howell Mountain in St. Helena, which he felt would be perfect for a cool-climate Cabernet Sauvignon vineyard. They planted it in 1988 and, while still working their day jobs, were pleased to sell the fruit to Colgin and Karl Lawrence for the next 15 years. The culmination of their dream came about when they started their own sought-after brands, HL Vineyards in 1997, and its companion label, Two Old Dogs, in 2001. Both brands showcase the estate Cabernet Sauvignon fruit from their hillside vineyard. Herb was initially appalled when Jennifer suggested they add a white wine to their stable. The Two Old Dogs Sauvignon Blanc was created in 2005... and Herb eventually learned to really enjoy an iced glass of his SB on a hot summer day.

In another life, Herb must have been a fisherman, as every free weekend or vacation was spent on his boat in Bodega Bay, attempting to catch crabs and salmon. He also enjoyed his annual fishing excursions in the waters of the Sea of Cortez in Baja. He was a lover of fine dining and relished sharing a meal, a Manhattan, and a nice bottle of wine at local restaurants with friends and colleagues. Most nights, he could be found relaxing with a newspaper, cigar, and glass of Cab on his porch overlooking the vineyards along with his black labs, Maggie and Camo, and cat, Chloe. A quiet but generous man, he also enjoyed cooking and sharing the spoils of his outdoor Bar-B-Que with family and local fundraisers alike.

Herb was a supporter of the local 4-H, filling his freezer with lambs and hogs from the fair each year. He was a past member of the St. Helena Rotary, a Native Son of the Golden West, served on the early board of the Napa Valley Grapegrowers, and most recently the board of the Napa County Mosquito Abatement.

Herb is survived by his wife, Jennifer, two daughters, Meghan Lamb of St. Helena and Melissa Baucom (Jared) and granddaughter Sterley Baucom of Boston. He is also survived by his sister Nancy Lamb of Jamestown, CO and several cousins. He was preceded in death by his parents and his stepmother Genevieve Lamb.

Herb was perpetually amazed that our prosperous country could allow children to go underfed or undereducated, so we are asking that you please make a donation in his name to the St. Helena Preschool for All, the Napa Valley Hospice, or the local charity of your choice. A celebration of his life took place at the St. Helena Native Sons Hall on January 3rd at 11 am. Many thanks to all that attending and were involved in some way! A photo album from the event can be viewed on our Facebook page.


"We remember fondly sitting with Herb and Jennifer at the STOMP fundraiser in 2013. Such an amazing night with good friends and great HL wines. We were so very sorry to hear of Herb's untimely passing. In his honor, we took a magnum of HL to a New Year's Eve celebration and poured a taste for Herb."

— Kim & Bill Dougherty

 

"So sorry to hear about Herb. We were friends growing up on Soda Canyon Road. We were in Scouts together and his dad would take us on wonderful Sunday drives. Herb and I also took many trips on the bus from Cavaneros to the Giants games on many Sundays with our moms."

— ed (Bud) conrado

 

"Jennifer, I am so sad to hear about Herb's passing. I have such fond memories of meeting you both at your house with Bob Wells. We had such fun as your guest at the Annual Firehouse Seafood fest. Two great men passed way too early. My best to you and your family. "

— Krista Hartman

"Jenn : I was sadden to hear of Herb's passing... My heart reaches out to you and your family ... There are so many fond memories I have of spending time with you and Herb in the last 20 years.. I was fortunate to spend a few hours with him late last summer, drinking wine smoking cigars and sharing memories .... I use to tell Herb { since were both Lab owners and lovers } That the two OLD DOGS, were really he and I .... Thank You for all the wonder times and memories that will last a life time .. Your Friend STEVE"

— Steve DeValle

 

"Jennifer, my heart goes out to you and your girls. I never had the honor of meeting Herb, but he must have been a great guy, as you picked him for your husband. Having gone though what you are now going through, remember that you will always have those great memories of the two of you, plus your two girls. Jim Mauser"

— Jim Mauser

 

"With Herb's loss my world is a poorer place, but God's is better. I'm certain Herb has already found the perfect growing site on a cloud, with a retreat carrying his cigar smoke away from the vines. "

— Tom Pavlovic

"Jennifer and family: Please accept our sincere and heartfelt condolences on your loss. We share in your loss, and wish you, Jennifer, and the Lamb family as a whole only good health and positive energy in the coming year. "

— Marci and Marty Boyer

 

"Whenever and wherever I play Bocce, a very gentle man named Herb Lamb will roll first.... "

— Chris Vaile

 

"Jennifer - It is sad to think we won't have Herb as a friendly reference for growing anything from grapes to blueberries. At the same time, how lucky we were to be around both of you over the years. I can think of many great outings where Herb was always insightful, gracious and quite funny: the old Snake Bake Golf Tournament, a chartered bus to an A's game, sharing boating stories, or at a local fundraiser. Herb was always a source of down-to-earth reality and wisdom that I'll truly miss. Our hearts go out to you and the family."

— Gove Celio


"My condolences go out to Jennifer and the family. I never met Herb personally, but having met Jennifer on a number of occasions, I have no doubt he was a wonderful individual (who happened to make great wine!). Best wishes, Chug Perry - Boston, MA."

— Chug Perry

 

"Herbie made the world's best jerky, and I can taste it still. It was so knock-your-socks-off scrumptious because he truly loved making everything he made. One could taste the care that went into every bite. We will all carry on his many culinary traditions, from beef jerky to Millionaire's Bacon to eggnog to Pizza a la Herb. "

— Claire Russo

 

"Lucky me to have had Herb and Jennifer grace my life. I realize that God wanted the pleasure of Herb's company even more that I did."

— Tom Pavlovic

"My prayers and love go out to Jennifer, Meghan, and Melissa. Herb and Jennifer have established a legacy of good wines, and I am so honored to have experienced their passion and their incredible wines. Thank you for opening your home to us, as you have touched our lives with your love and friendship. - Joy Chen and Vernon Giang"

— Joy Chen

 

"My condolences go out to Jennifer, Meghan and Melissa. Herb was a generous soul with a distinctive voice. A keen observer of the human condition, he channeled Herb Caen, his favorite columnist from the SF Chronicle whenever the opportunity arose. I met Herb at Cal Poly where we both studied Soil Science. He was a great student and friend! Herb, I'll miss you. "

— Mike Edminster

 

"I shared several great times with Herb and Jennifer at their home -- always receiving a warm welcome and wonderful wine. Herb will be missed! "

— Susan Thomas

"Jennifer, I am so sorry to hear about the passing of Herb. He took so much pride in his fruit from your vineyard. I am a better person for knowing Herb. You and your family will be in my families prayers."

— Mike Needham

 

"Herb was a class act character in the Napa Valley. Every visit with him was one that I enjoyed and learned from. From the discussions in the office, to a lunch at a nearby hangout or happenstance late night cocktail, I always picked up tidbits of learnings. Best wishes to Jennifer and family."

— Nevada Smith

 

"Uncle Herb, thank you for all the wonderful times I have enjoyed drinking your wines with my family and friends. It is a regret that I only know you from wine and reputation. Respectfully and with love, Barry Rush"

— Barry Rush


"It is with sadness that we learned of Herb's death. We always enjoyed his friendship (and yours, too) after our chance meeting at the courthouse steps. He lived hard and full but not as long as we all would have liked. I loved his humor, his easy-going way, and his generosity all well-hidden in his gruff facade. Over the years he gave me sound advice without ever groaning (in front of me at least) because of my incredible lack of knowledge about farming. He even slid me the last of his yellow jacket bad ass killer stuff that had been banned by the EPA to attack the little bastards whacking one of our vineyards. I will honor him each time I drink a Manhattan (which is frequently) and continue to honor him each year at Thanksgiving as we have ever since you published his oyster dressing recipe. I know he wouldn't want to be always related to a turkey...but it's too late! Please give our condolences to Meghan and Melissa, too. Warmly,j"

— Michael Verlander

"Herb, with his legendary lamb chili turned this vegetarian into a carnivore - Thank you for all the wisdom, humor and hospitality. Cheers to you, Herb, you will be missed. Sending all my love to Jennifer, Megs and Melissa."

— Cat Biggar

 

"Herb was one of my first friends in the Valley. Thanks for the great memories, Herb. ...A gentle giant with a monster heart. He will be sorely missed. My sympathies to Jennifer and his kids."

— Paul Smith

 

"Although we only saw each other a few times a year, we never missed a beat. I always looked forward to seeing Herb and his family. I am focusing on the many great memories in this saddest of time. My heart goes out to Jennifer, Meghan and Melissa. I will miss you Herb."

— Dave Doherty

"Jennifer, I was sorry to learn of Herbs passing from my neighbors George & Elaine Watson, my condolences to you and your family. I was fortunate to attend one of many dinners that Herb & you prepared. I was invited to a Wild Boar feast at your house,we were Don and Joann Ross's guest, owners of Shibumi Knoll winery.Herb and I have known each other since the opening day of Ag Supply.We purchase all of our vineyard needs there.We always had short conversation through the years when picking up supplies during the growing season.I will miss Herb along with everyone one else in the vineyard industry. Sadly, Craig Battuello P.S. I will be happy to share a bottle of Battuello vineyards Cabernet.Herb's sister, Nancy and I took a typing class together in our High School Days."

— craig battuello


"Jennifer, Sharon, my kids and I send our condolences to you and your family. What a sad day and Tahoe will never be the same. My memories of Herb aren't many, for we have only known you for less than 10 years. The one I do remember has two parts. The first was the Tahoe 2013 edition at Bruce and Janis' Saturday party. Was just Herb and I on the deck, and we shared our common love for the outdoors, boating and dogs, and I felt a real bond to him. Later that night, I saw him and John Arnes sitting around the fire pit with my kids and Megan in the back yard doing shots with the kids. LOL. Was quite a vision. We will miss him at the future Tahoe gatherings, but he will certainly not be forgotten. With our Love, Danny, Sharon, Scott(Kristen) and Lauren Kato"

— Danny Kato

 

"Jennifer, I remember vividly Kaley's christening and Britt's birthday when you and Herb were so warmly and lovingly evident. Watching Herb sit with baby Kaley was so beautiful. He seemed so content with a good wine and a sleeping angel. The taping of the Herb Lamb Wines with Didier was so much fun. Herb was not able to come but I loved it when you shared the story behind The Two Old Dogs. Herb's legacy is in the people like Jeff whose life he influenced. I wish I could be there in January. Please know that you and the girls are in my thoughts and prayers. Much love, Barbara"

— Barbara Greebon

"Jennifer - Barbara and I would like to extend our condolences on the passing of Herb. Although we never had the chance of meeting Herb we have only heard great things about him. And you are often in our thoughts and fond memories of all you did in the launch of our Cystic Fibrosis Winemasters many years ago. Allen and Barbara Balik"

— Allen Balik

 

"I remember our days in the early 80's with Tom Catterson (Kamikaze Catering). Herb was usually the only voice of reason when things went bad, but we all had so much fun. Herb, Jennifer and the girls were often at Werner's Galleron Rd. house for cooking and swimming when our kids were very small...more fun. Herb was genuinely a fine human being. Love and good thoughts to you, Herb, wherever your wings have taken you. My prayers for the Lamb family."

— Jane Freeman

 

"Billionaires' Bacon! I'll always think of Herb in command at the BBQ. Parties at the Lambs were the best - and usually in support of some worthy local charity. Thank you, Herb and Jennifer, for wonderful memories. And for the recipe for Billionaires' Bacon. "

— Stacey Bressler

"One of the things I will always remember about Herb is his wonderful voice. He just had a very charming way of speaking, slowly and with passion about the things he cared about. Herb will live on in my heart as a person of immense generosity and kindness. I have many wonderful memories!"

— Nancy Hill

 

"Jennifer, I am so sorry to hear about the passing of Herb. The many conversations we had along the way about military life, farming and politics. This all started when both of us where doing our best to put food on the table of our families and i planted some hay and Herb would do some custom work with me driving tractor all night long. The memories of the dinners we put on for the Aldo Delfino Scholarship are al in the very fond memory Bank that no one can take from us. God Bless you and keep you. Larry Bettinelli "

— Larry Bettinelli

 

"Oh, Jennifer - Our hearts are broken. You, Herb and kids were the best neighbors we've ever had, going back to Dean Tucker! I'll never forget those vast amounts of awesome beans and basil! And the laughter over the mailbox! My dream has been that you would someday move back here again. I can't even begin to express the emptiness and loss that I feel. "

— Norma Tofanelli & Tofanelli family


"We send our condolences to Jennifer and the Lamb Family. Elizabeth Pressler and Spencer Graham"

— Elizabeth Pressler

 

"Condolences to Jennifer and the family...Herb was a legend and I loved to listen to his stories while he was smoking a cigar or drinking a glass of HL..Herb, we will miss you and think of you often..."

— Ki Punwar

 

"Thank you Herb for the many incredible ocean excursions, and memorable conversations during our travels to and from the North Coast. You will be sorely missed. Fish On!"

— Jesse Dewyer

"I can't say I knew Herb well, only having met him once, but as a young sommelier, he changed my mind about Napa Cabernet. The first time I tasted the HL Cab was a revelation for me. It was a truly balanced, complex and elegant wine without being overpowering or ostentatious. Since then, I have tasted several other wines made from Herb's grapes, but I don't think any ever spoke as truly of the vineyard as the HL. I will alway feel a debt to Herb, and I mourn his passing greatly, but I think we can all be comforted by the indelible and ongoing influence he has had on our lives. All my love to Jennifer and the family."

— Jamie Harding

 

"Our hearts are broken over Herb's passing. He was a gentle soul with a warm bear hug greeting. Sending love and prayers to Jennifer, Megan, Melissa, Jared and Sterley. Judy & Mandy Pridmore"

— Judy Pridmore

"It's been a great ride -Chili Ball, Farm Bureau, Rotary, Deboccery all made better with Herb's presence. My heart goes out to you all, but the memories sure do make me smile. You will be missed Herb xxo nastash "

— Natalie Klug

 

"I will never forget your beef jerky, which we would steal away by the handfuls to the tree fort in the old walnut orchard out back. And your cigars were pretty good too. I'm not certain if we had permission to indulge in either. Sending our love to your girls... Haley & Erik too."

— Haley Wight

 

"My condolences Jennifer and Family. Herb was always there for Me when I developed Shifflett Vineyards. No was not in His vocabulary. My one word for Herb was a Kind Person. Will miss Him a lot. "

— Jeffrey Shifflett


" I met Herb 30+ years ago at the Ag Supply asking about materials for local vineyards and knew I had found a man who knew his business but was also a no nonsense,caring, genuine, from the heart kind of guy. I've enjoyed many many Mexico and Bodega fishing stories and pictures and admired his passion for what we both deeply enjoy. His Presence at my retirement dinner will always be special because he found the time to be there for me. He will be my friend always with too many many fond memories to mention. Jennifer, Megan and Melissa, we have all lost someone who can never be replaced but we have the best memories to keep forever of the best dad, husband and friend we could hope for. If you need us,we will always be here for you. God bless you all."

— Bert Varner

 

"My heart was filled with sadness when I heard of Herb's passing. Jennifer, Meghan, and Melissa are in my thoughts during this tough time. "

— Julie Mora-Blanc (Havens)

"My deepest sympathies to the Lamb Family. Herb and I only talked about vineyards once that I recall. Mostly we discussed: fishing,dogs,growing fruits & veggies, the Giants, ocean conditions and boats. To me he was more than a vineyard guy, he was a farmer and that's pretty rare in this valley now days. So long friend, hope you catch a lot of 'em up there."

— Tony Fernandez Jr

 

"Herb was always available to answer the questions of wet-behind-the-ears Viticulturists seeking pest control direction. His advice was common sense from a true Grower's perspective. I'm shocked at his passing and I'm saying a nice prayer for Herb and his family. He was a really good human being."

— Rick Aldine

 

"Herb was my first acquaintance and later, first friend in the Napa Valley, back in 1983. This little box won't hold all the help, love, friendship, good food, raised glasses, advice, silliness, and more, that we shared all these years. He will be truly missed by all. My heart goes out to Jennifer, Meghan and Melissa."

— Linda Neal

"Herb, our dear friend....you are loved and missed...our hearts and love go to you jennifer, meaghan ans melissa... We will be thinking of you with every fish story..a toast to you tonight....love Mike, leah, taylor and ashley smith"

— Leah and mike smith

 

"Herb was always so kind and graciously offered advice to other grape growers. His wealth of vineyard knowledge was priceless. Herb will be dearly missed as a friend and mentor to many in Napa Valley. Andrea and I extend our deepest sympathies to Jennifer and the Lamb family. "

— Bryan and Andrea Rahn

 

"The entire Skupny family send their condolences to Jennifer, Meghan and Melissa. Herb was one of a kind and will be sorely missed."

— John Skupny


"Several years ago I was traveling with business friend who was on list for 2 bottles of HL cab each year. My friend called Jennifer and ask if we could stop by and pick up the 2 bottles while in the area. Jennifer not only said yes but asked us to dinner at their home. Herb and Jennifer prepared a wonderful dinner with lots of RED wine. After dinner Herb asked what we were doing next day and we told him we were looking for a place for a round of golf. He said great, stop by the next morning and we would play at his club. That we did, early lunch at his club with wine and Manhattan then golf. What an experience! Sorry I didn't get to visit with them again but Herb was a wonderful guy and I know Jennifer will miss him more than anyone will know. My best to the family. Sid "

— Sid Sarver

 

"Jennifer, Marilyn and I are saddened by the news of Herb's passing; but grateful for the privilege of having kano and worked with him for over 30 years. "

— Ren Harris

 

"Condolences and love to your family."

— Nicole Rienecker

"You are a legend, Herb. I'm so honored to have known you. Lots of love to you Jennifer, Meghan, and Melissa. "

— Molly Hill

 

"Jennifer, we are so very sorry to hear of the passing of Herb. Our thoughts are with you... Rest in Peace, Herb. Love, Monica + David Stevens "

— Monica + David Stevens

 

"My thoughts and prayers are with you all. "

— Susan Baucom

 

"We are deeply sorry for your loss. Our thoughts are with you - Jennifer and family - at this very difficult time."

— Karen and John Troisi

 

"Rest in peace, Herb. Thanks for teaching me that it's okay to drink red wine in a whiskey glass, light a cigar with a blow torch, wear shorts every day, and start making egg nog before the autumn leaves have changed color. We'll all miss you."

— Matt Morris

"Jennifer, Leslie's thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. We look forward to STOMP every year, not only for the cause but to spend time with you and Herb. I really enjoyed smoking cigars with Herb and tipping a glass. Today I will raise a glass to his honor and know he's in the Kingdom of Heaven. Cheers to you Herb Lamb "

— Gary Miller

 

"Our hearts are breaking for the Lamb Family. Rest in peace, Herb. We'll raise a glass to you tonight. XOXO"

— Erin Sullivan

 

"I have fond memories of Herb bringing his girls to the Montessori Family Center when they were little. He was such a warm and jovial presence and I always enjoyed spending time chatting with him during these times. We could always count on him to volunteer to help on various projects. His presence will be dearly missed. Offering my thoughts and prayers to Jennifer, Megan and Melissa."

— Tish Jennings