St. Helena, Calif.
Before Chuck McMinn purchased Vineyard 29 eight years ago, the entrepreneur was running a very different type of startup: Covad Communications, a provider of broadband data services. McMinn, who is still Covad's part-time chairman, says he uses his earlier experience in semiconductor processing to monitor the vineyard's activity.
The winery receives some of its greatest accolades for the cabernet sauvignon blends it produces at its Aida vineyard; a 2003 vintage ($140) released in March 2007 earned an "extraordinary" score of 96 (out of 100) from wine critic Robert Parker. Vineyard 29 recently produced 675 cases of its flagship cabernet sauvignon, which sells for $225 a bottle.
NEXT: Meteor Vineyard