Samuel Lachman & Sons: Leading Jewish Winemakers/Merchants of the Pioneer American West

Samuel Lachman & Sons

Samuel Lachman

Samuel Lachman

Values Codes I – E – L


“If it had not been for Samuel Lachman and his keen foresight, it might have been many years before the excellent wines of California received the recognition they now have throughout the world.”

— Rabbi Martin Meyer, 1916


Samuel Lachman was born in Prussia in 1824.

He arrived in San Francisco in 1850, having come by way of the Isthmus of Panama.


San Francisco

Samuel Lachman worked for a while in the gold fields of El Dorado County, and then moved to Weaverville in Trinity County, where he ran general store.

In 1864, he sold his business and moved to San Francisco, looking for a new investment opportunity.

In 1867,Lachman joined with Adolph Eberhardt in Sacramento, in what was originally planned as a local wine business.

After six months, he put all his available capital into the business, which rapidly developed into one of the largest in California, with distribution throughout the country.

He purchased Adolph Eberhardt’s interest in 1872, and the firm became S. Lachman Company.

Over the years, Lachman created such a demand for his wines that, in 1885, he expanded his Sacramento facilities to hold as much as 2,000,000 gallons of wine-in-process.

California Wine Association Flyer

California Wine Association Flyer

Lachman’s wines won awards and medals at international expositions – especially his sherries, old wines, and brandies.

He was considered the best judge of wines in the United Sates.

A marketing office was opened in New York City, under the supervision of Albert Lachman, Samuel’s eldest son.

Another son, Henry Lachman, managed the main office in San Francisco.

The Lachman family sold the business in 1888.

The Lachman Building in San Francisco before it destroyed in the 1906 Earthquake/Fire

The Lachman Building in San Francisco before it was destroyed in the 1906 Earthquake-Fire


Samuel Lachman married Henrietta Guenther of New York in 1856.

Together, they had three children: Albert, Mrs. Leo Metzger, and Henry.


Henry Lachman

Henry Lachman

Henry Lachman

Henry Lachman was born in Weaverville, Trinity County, California, in 1860.

After being educated in public schools in San Francisco and at the McClure Academy in Oakland, Henry joined his father in the wine industry.

He was first a wine-taster, then a blender, and then a purchasing agent of grapes from wineries throughout the state.

Quickly gaining a reputation as a great wine taster, he represented the California Wine Industry at the St. Louis World’s Fair in 1904.

While there, Henry Lachman was the Chairman of the Wine Exhibit of the World – and was decorated by the French Government with the Chevalier of the Legion of Honor.

Henry Lachman continued to gather other awards for his wine-tasting ability – yet throughout his life, he never swallowed a drop of wine or any other intoxicating liquors!

After the family sale of S. Lachman Company in 1888, Henry acquired a large estate near the San Francisco Mission of San Jose, and spent his remaining years developing its gardens for public view.



Henry Lachman led in the formation of the California Wine Association in 1904.

He served as president of the United Chambers of Commerce of Washington Township.

He was also a director of the Alameda County Farm Bureau, a member of the Chamber of Commerce Commercial Club, and served  as an officer of the California Tourist Association.



Henry Lachman was a member of the Masonic Order.



Henry Lachman never married.

He lived with his mother, Henrietta, and his brother, Albert.


Henry Lachman died in 1915.


  • Martin A. Meyer, The Jews of San Francisco (San Francisco: Emanu-El, 1916).

David Epstein is curator of this Lachman Family exhibit.


Jews in the News

— About This Time —

California Champagne — 1870

It is a well established fact that our coreligionists here are highly distinguished for their industrial pursuits. So Messrs. Landsberger & Co., of this city [San Francisco], are said to have finally succeeded in preparing an effervescent wine, whose quality does not yield in any respect to genuine Champagne. This wine is made from the lightest California wine (Sonoma wine).

Messrs. Landsberger & Co. engaged working men of the establishment of Veuve Cliquot, and Heidsieck Brothers, of Rheims, to manufacture this effervescent wine for them, which is expected to become a formidable competitor of the French produce.

—Hebrew Leader, New York, March 11, 1870 [WSJHQ 12/2]