Wiens Family Cellars outdoor sign, "Big Reds" & "Crisp Whites"

“The family was super close. grandpa had passed & this was something the family could really rally behind.”

– Joe Wiens

Squeezing all nine siblings in their Volkswagen Van to cruise the town was adventure enough for these kids, still their blueprints as a Wiens always made room for more creativity. A family full of artists, inventors, musicians, visionaries & more— It came from their father. “He didn’t like to work for anybody,” recall several Wiens family members when remembering their dad, Gary. Becoming an architectural delineator gave him that freedom of creativity & determination; Showing people the full prospect before it became reality. Ask any Wiens where they get their ambition from, they’ll say their dad. They all had that same zeal & they all grew closer because of it. In fact, they often say that their decision to start the winery was a way to rally together & bond after his sudden passing in 1995. That inherited tenacity was the driving force behind so many of their important life decisions, but especially the one each of them made to build Wiens Family Cellars into what it is today.

A special thing happens when they remember the last 20 years together; Their sentences begin with “we” rather than “I.” Their memories remain together rather than apart & their love for each other remains constant through their journey in winemaking, but truthfully, it’s just the beginning.


“I just wanted to be a farmer.”



Doug Wiens in Lodi working on barrels, mid 1990’s

In retrospect, Doug Wiens’ humble aspirations were the true beginnings to what we now call Wiens Family Cellars. Residing in the state of Colorado during his teenage years where the growing season rarely lasted for more than three months, Doug’s rooted interest in agriculture wasn’t able to blossom until his college years moving back to California. Following his graduation from Cal State San Luis Obispo with a Masters in Agriculture, Doug set out for a career in the food & beverage industry over the next several years in the Northern California region. Starting as a Production Manager for a major food manufacturer, then bouncing to Quality Control Manager in other similar companies & finally becoming a Business Systems Analyst at Gallo, Doug’s experience in the food & beverage industry was now extent—to say the least. It was here that he actually became inspired to begin growing his own vineyard. So, having abundant knowledge in agriculture as a whole, he began his journey into viticulture.

Learning that their brother had bought some land up north, the remaining Wiens siblings volunteered their time to help plant, maintain & harvest the original vines for a few summers in the mid 90’s—Truly making it a family venture from the very beginning. Due to their increasing popularity at the time, the first varietals they planted were Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Zinfandel & Chardonnay. Initially, the small 14-acre plot of land that he bought in Herald was intended for grape growth & resale. However, after some time selling to local wineries, the profits were just not there. He had years of experience in the food industry, extensive knowledge in agriculture & knew the basic chemistry behind wine… So, why not take it a step further? Purely on an experimental trial, Doug began making wine from the grapes he grew in his own vineyard. His garage was now the chemistry lab & his family became the test subjects. To their surprise & frankly, Doug’s as well, the wine was well balanced & very enjoyable…


“We’ve always had that entrepreneurial spirit.”



Jeff’s Graduation with (left to right) wife, father Gary & mother Mary, 1994

Talk about marching to the beat of your own drum. Following his high school graduation, Jeff Wiens followed his aspirations in music. In fact, he was a professional drummer for ten years! Years in & out of schooling, working different odd jobs & touring with bands was just the prologue for this dreamer. Like all good eras though, they must eventually come to an end. So, after hanging up his drumsticks for a degree in Electronics, Jeff began his engineering journey. Working as an Engineering Technician while in school offered Jeff many opportunities to grow in his field while still gaining his education. After graduation, he worked his way up to Engineering Manager. Then, over the next several years & various companies later, he became a Senior Industrial Engineer. Always having a gumptious drive, it was during this stage in his career that he decided to start his own business.

He discussed these aspirations in technology around the same time that his brother, Doug was entering his journey into wine. Realizing these similar paths in mind, Doug suggested they go in on a winery together. With Jeff’s experience in management & business, he added just what the future winery needed to get up & running. Shortly after, talks with their oldest brother, George, started making this dream a reality. His background in architecture seemed to be another missing piece to the puzzle. It was on a ritual skiing trip up to Lake Tahoe in 2001 that these three began to get excited about the possibility of this venture. By the end of the trip, they decided to start their own winery…

“After tasting his wine, we decided there might be something there.” – Jeff Wiens

Lodi vineyard at sunset, 2002

Lodi vineyard, 2002

Wiens Family Cellars was established on April 6, 2001; A winery based on family bonds & similar purpose. To convey that idea, they needed a visual symbol of their goal. After toying around with a few of his own ideas, Doug enlisted help from his son, Joe, on their way back from a football game. They doodled around, then finally stopped for food & sketched it out on the back of a McDonald’s napkin. The Wiens seal displaying the words Quality, Family, Integrity, is the same one from that original sketch… Well, maybe spruced up a little bit. Next, they needed a place.

They found a Co-Op up in Lockeford that used to be an old alcohol distillation plant. Back in the 1950s, this property had actually been a winery, then in the 1970s it became a production site for gasohol. Needless to say, it had all the equipment to produce wine. Each room was a tank (previously used to make bulk wine), & each tank had holes cut in their sides to create doorways. They rented three tanks: One for tasting & two for storage. This gave them a whopping 16 x 48 ft space to introduce their name to the market up in Lodi. For five years, they did. Of course, they also had their secret weapon: Mary.


Original Lockeford Tasting Room, 2002

For quite some time, their mother Mary was the only Tasting Room employee. She didn’t particularly enjoy wine, but she loved being around family, so she joined in on the fun. In her free-time, she sat reading her romance novels & interacted with the customers. “Everyone loved her,” remembers her grandson, Joe Wiens. Later on, the Dulce Maria blend would be curated as an ode to her sweet taste & manner. However, even with Mary’s excellent customer service, the small tasting room wasn’t enough to compete with the big-name wine brands in the Lodi area.

Although the market up in Lodi proved to be abundant, a small boutique winery was not necessarily the most lucrative design at the time. Regardless, their business was growing & needed more space. So, they set out to look for a new property. First, they planned on staying up in Northern California near the foothills. Then, upon George & Jeff’s research, they discovered Temecula; A hidden gem, the wine country of Southern California. At the time, very few wineries populated the area as they do now. The climate was ideal for grape growing & the market for direct-to-consumer wineries was more than promising– It was hard to pass up. A substantial move, but one they were willing to take. After having their eye on some real estate, they finally bought some property in 2003 & started their journey down South in 2005…


“No [hesitations]. We just did it.”


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Dave during construction of Temecula Tasting Room, 2006

Becoming a licensed General Contractor with an A & B license granted Dave Wiens the ability to build nearly anything in the state of California. For many years, he did. In fact, he worked for major national homebuilders for close to 25 years. During that time, constantly travelling around the country for work gave him an incredible resume. Still, he had that will to pioneer just like his father before him & his siblings after that. So, about one year after the three brothers began the winery, Dave decided to put some of his own money into the new business.

While still working his contracting job, he began building bars for the original Tasting Room in Lockeford out of his garage, then hauling them up North in his Tahoe truck. Then, he started using all of his vacation time & weekends to help with the business. He even took his vacation during Thanksgiving to help bottle! He describes his first few years as more hands on, even working the Tasting Room on weekends. For years, he commuted back & forth between jobs & sacrificed his leisure time for the future of the business, but it was well worth it. Finally, in 2009, he came to work full-time at the winery in Sales & Marketing…


“We were raised with a very strong work ethic; You just figure stuff out.”


“Wiensfest,” Sandy blind tasting wines

“Wiensfest” 2021, Sandy blind tasting wines

Being a registered CPA with roughly twelve years in public accounting gave Sandy (Wiens) Williams her fair share of practice in the business world. Mostly working with small businesses getting their books & taxes set up, she became another perfect addition to the family business. At first, they simply needed help, & she lent it. So much so, that for the first six years of their operations, she was receiving accounting work off-site in Kentucky while she worked her two other jobs as well. At least once a year, their family would try to make it out during their fall break, which usually ended up being during harvest. Consequently, their time would be spent cleaning barrels, moving barrels, harvesting vineyards & helping with crush. After becoming part owner along with her brothers & sister, she continued helping with the business for quite a while. She helped interview & train the first Bookkeeper, set up accounting policies & general ledger accounts, even helped auditing when they decided to move their business. However, once the company took off, working 30-hour weekends on top of her job in Kentucky became too much for anyone to handle. So, she stepped down from the accounting portion & still held her ownership while cheering them on from the South…

“This is where we need to be.” – Jeff Wiens

Temporary Tasting Room, “Trailer Days”

“Trailer Days,” Temporary Tasting Room, 2005

In 2005, they secured their spot in Temecula, beginning a new era for Wiens Family Cellars. This blank canvas was uniquely their own— Ready to be sculpted to their vision. To ensure their desired plan came to fruition, while still preventing lost time, they set up a modular building in the parking lot. On December 23, 2005, they opened it for business. This temporary Tasting Room became their new home base for about a year while they built the permanent establishment right outside its front door. These “Trailer Days” as they call them, were the foundation upon which they built so many relationships with Club Members they still have today. A time they hold so dear in their hearts, with people they attribute their ongoing success to. Still, the future was so much brighter.

Construction of Temecula Tasting room

Construction of Temecula Tasting Room, 2006

Dave & George ran the lead on building the new winery. Their background in architecture & construction allowed them to fabricate their ideas in a way that no outside hire could. However, all were involved in the decision making. Each brick & concrete slab was planned uniquely for this family pursuit. Dave thought up the idea for the Cellar Room that now houses our Select Tastings, down to the final sketches. Special features went in to every detail. Additionally, the Barrel Room was placed in the back to focus your attention on the winemaking & the warm colors used were intended to invite you in, like home. Ultimately, the layout, design & presentation all had one thing in common: Intention.

In true Wiens family fashion, they all came down to prepare for the Grand Opening once construction was finished. From big jobs to small, they began building office furniture by hand, decorating the tasting room, setting up POS systems & tying up all other loose ends to prepare for opening day. Finally on October 14, 2006, they cut the ribbon & opened their doors. Following the excitement, their time in Temecula continually proved that they were exactly where they needed to be…


“My goal is to show people what good Temecula wine tastes like.”


Joe posing for 2019 Refugio Campaign

Joe Wiens posing for 2019 Refugio Campaign

With his parents working in the restaurant business, Joe Wiens grew up knowing two things: Food & Wine. He says having killer gardens was the norm & helping out with menu options eventually became his job. Later on in life, he actually became a wine buyer for his mom’s restaurant in Sacramento. He also spent a great amount of time learning about winemaking from his father, Doug Wiens. Naturally, he grew up during the assembly of Wiens Family Cellars. So, his involvement in the other activities of planting, growing, harvesting & maintaining, the original vineyards up North was immense. In fact, he even created the labels for all of the 2002 vintages! However, wanting to spread his wings at 18, he moved away from the family business.

In 2005, he joined the venture again to work in the vineyard & production, then eventually became Tasting Room Manager. After a few years, he again left the business to do his own thing. Due to his upbringing in viticulture, his dream was to open up his own wine shop in Davis, where he lived in his 20’s. However, as life changes, so do passions. Joe’s intentions with wine changed when he came back down in 2010 to get more involved in the winemaking process…


“Everything I learned about wine was from Joe & Doug.”



Brian Marquez barrel tasting Futures wine

Previously a high school band instructor, limited exposure to wine & no intention of becoming a winemaker prior to being hired; In 2007, Brian Marquez was immediately hired to be an Event Bartender. He proved to be a hard worker, but his future with us was so much more than we imagined. Sequentially, working events was followed by gaining extra hours working in the vineyard, then eventually helping out with production, & finally getting hired on full-time in that department. Brian quickly became involved in the world of wine. Back when the business was mostly family, he had the opportunity of working closely with Danny, Andrew & Luke Wiens. His honorary family membership swiftly developed. However, his work ethic proved to be even more impressive. After becoming Production Lead, Production Manager a year later, then Cellar Master the following year, he finally earned the position of Assistant Winemaker on his 10-year Anniversary of working here…

“After doing all of this for 20 years, we still like each other.” – Sandy (Wiens) Williams

“Wiensfest,” 20 Years Celebration group toast

“Wiensfest” 2021, 20 Years Celebration group toast with the family

It’s here where our stories all connect. From the beginning, each sibling has been involved in one form or another, but over the years, there have been a few changes to the business. When Joe returned in 2010, his dad had already begun to start his next adventure in the wine world. So, he started training Joe to officially take the reins. By 2012, Joe became Head Winemaker— Like father, like son. Doug’s involvement since then has changed. He’s still involved in winemaking, holds stake in the company & weighs in on important decisions, but also now owns two other winery restaurants that need his attention as well. Jeff has stayed General Manager & Dave became our Director of Business Development, taking over the Sales & Marketing side of things. Once the business moved down to Temecula, Sandy followed a few years later & joined the business once again. We call her our “fireman;” putting out all of the daily fires around here. The two oldest siblings, Beth & George still hold part ownership & pop in often, although their children are the ones more involved on a daily basis now. Currently, George’s son, Gabe is our Outside Sales Representative, Beth’s son, John is our Vineyard Manager & his wife, Alma heads up our Accounting & HR. Still, after 20 years, we have said goodbye to many family members wanting to begin their own journeys & welcomed many non-family employees as well… Too many to count!


So, the question remains: What’s next?


When asked what they see for the future of Wiens, the response was unanimously the same: “Who knows.” The truth is, Wiens Family Cellars began on an unknown & it will most likely continue the same way— always evolving. The recent pandemic proved to them they could adapt to changing times & shift their perspective on the market; It made them stronger. So, they’re hopeful for what the future may bring. The next generation of Wiens’ have always been in & out— making them unsure of the legacy they’ll leave as well. However, their individual successes have proved to be inspiration enough for a promising future. In the end, that big question mark is not a formidable existence— it’s freedom; Freedom to stay the same or to change in any direction they choose. Although, one thing is for certain: They’ll do it together, with Quality, Family & Integrity.

Bailey Morris, Marketing/ Gift Shop