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Walnut Creek Magazine

From Hollywood Executive to Sonoma Vintner: Kimberly Pfendler

Apr 09, 2021 08:43AM ● By Fran Miller

By Fran Endicott Miller

Pfendler Vineyards proprietor Kimberly Pfendler’s journey from Hollywood to Northern California’s Petaluma Gap could be material for one of the movie screenplays she once oversaw. Just as Tinseltown’s A-list crowd is known for its penchant for the drama and elegance of the wine industry (think Brad Pitt, Drew Barrymore and Cameron Diaz – all vintners) Pfendler too became drawn to the artistry of winemaking, leaving a successful film career in the process.

Upon graduation from UCLA’s prestigious School of Theater, Film and Television, Pfendler paid her dues in the ICM agent trainee program before working at Warner Brothers alongside high-profile producer Jon Peters on films such as Wild Wild West and The Money Train. She later transitioned to working alongside producer David Hoberman at Hyde Park Entertainment at MGM studios. 

Upon marrying her late husband Peter Pfendler, she left Hollywood and followed her heart to Sonoma, where from the ground up, she developed the Pfendler Vineyards brand and became a leader in bringing recognition to the Petaluma Gap, a Sonoma County region officially recognized as an American Viticulture Area in 2017.


Pfendler’s background in creating and executing large entertainment productions helped her thrive in the wine industry. Her views on every aspect of the wine business, from marketing to management, contract law to negotiation, were shaped by her time working within the entertainment industry. From initial concept, through managing the countless intricacies of production, to marketing, the many parallels between her current and her former vocations have allowed Pfendler and her winery to flourish as one of the Petaluma Gap’s leading artisanal producers. Vintage after vintage, Pfendler’s meticulously produced and refined Pinot Noir and Chardonnay wines, created from grapes from her three vineyards on the slopes of Sonoma Mountain, have cemented her stellar reputation. 

“I feel very at home in the vineyard, making wine draws on many parallels to my background in the film industry,” said Pfendler. “Not only is making wine creative, but it requires an attention to detail and the ability to always see the big picture, all the way from planning and production to promotion. Working amongst the vineyards of the Petaluma Gap is exactly where I am meant to be and I am grateful for every step of the way that has led me to build Pfendler Vineyards.”  

Photos courtesy of Pfendler Vineyards

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