Swanson Vineyards is a premium winery but is typically under the radar of most first time visitors to the valley. Swanson was founded in 1985 by Clarke Swanson (born in Omaha) and his wife Elizabeth (born in New Orleans) although their first vintage wasn’t until 1987, a Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay and perhaps in setting the trend for their dessert wine program, a late harvest Sémillon.
If the Swanson name sounds familiar, that is because it is an ingrained part of the American culture; Swanson frozen meals (the TV dinners) were popularized starting in the early 1950s – the company’s roots actually date back to 1899 in Omaha. Clarke’s grandfather Carl and his father were instrumental in building the Swanson frozen food business before it was eventually acquired by Campbell Soup Company. Today Pinnacle Foods owns the Swanson TV Dinner business and Campbell’s owns the broth line of products. Still a formidable name in Omaha, the name Swanson honors a library, condominium, an elementary school and a hall at a private university, among other locations.