Cornell Winery is named after the historic city of Cornell, CA. Cornell is located just 5 minutes from the 101/Kanan interchange in Agoura Hills in the Santa Monica Mountains.
The town of Cornell gets its name from an act of kindness by a great man on the east coast, Ezra Cornell (Founder of Cornell University). Back in the early 1900's, a group of individuals, who probably called NY home at some point, sent a wire to Ezra asking for help as they wanted to develop a one-room school house for the local families. Ezra sent out a box of books and syllabus for the students. With gratitude, they named their town Cornell, CA.
The Old Place restaurant next door was once Hank's Country Store and served as the official post office for the town of Cornell. The Old Place honors this bit of history by keeping the old sorting table from the post office, complete with the residents’ names and uses it as a center point in a private dining room known as the Mail Room.
As for Cornell Winery, the story really starts with a friendship between Tim Skogstrom and the family that owns the Old Place, the building that we are located in, and the building next door, which is a business called Charme d'antan (French architectural design studio). Back in 2006, Tom Runyon, the patriarch of the family, his wife Barbara, and son Morgan introduced me to their building, which would become Cornell Winery. The plan has taken a few twists and turns, but for the most part, what we set out to do is just what we are doing - celebrating, drinking and selling locally produced wines.
In order to do the story justice, I need to pay tribute to a true legend, Tom Runyon. Tom started the Old Place back in 1970, and combined with the rich texture and personalities of its owners and patrons, the restaurant was an instant hit. Mind you, the area was sparsely populated back in 1970, so the eccentric and unruly crowd may not have served today's customers in the same way. Shucks, the reputation of the restaurant was “no frills and limit your thrills”, or you would be kicked out on your ear. Tom and Barbara ran a tight ship, and they did it their way. After all, I don't think it was the money that motivated them; it was more of a clubhouse where Steve McQueen, Ali MacGraw, Jason Robards, Sam Peckinpah, Sam Elliott, Katherine Ross, Bob Dylan and a slew of other mega stars from that era would come every night, and Tom would start up the wood-fired grill.
Tuesday, Dec 7, 2021 at 6:00 a.m. Pacific Time
Thursday, Dec 9, 2021 at 5:00 p.m. Pacific Time
Tuesday, Dec 14, 2021 at 5:00 p.m. Pacific Time
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