Wiens Family Cellars was founded on the family’s love for getting together to enjoy their Mom, Mary’s, homemade meals and pies, Doug’s great wine, and having fun with each other. “We spent every family event and holiday together before starting the winery, including our yearly vacations to Lake Oroville”, says Jeff Wiens, General Manager and the middle brother of nine brothers and sisters that make up the Wiens family. “We have an entrepreneurial and independent spirit and wanted to create a family legacy after we lost our father and was left with a huge void afterwards. Starting the winery was a way to keep the family together, take control of our destiny, and create a place that not only is an extension of our family, but a place we can share with everyone and create more priceless memories.”
The Wiens family’s grit and drive were inherited from their Dad who was also an entrepreneur and had a pioneer spirit. In 1972, he wanted a change for the family and bought 12 acres of bare land high in the mountains of Colorado. The family packed up their bags and moved from sunny California to Colorado and began living in a large tent while they built their new home themselves. Living at 9,200 feet and building a home from scratch had its challenges, including a collapsed tent after the first snow, a very cold outdoor bathroom and shower, and lots of hard physical work. Although tough, this created an even tighter family bond and unwavering resilience that would lead the family into building a successful winery many years later.
Some twenty-eight years later, Doug had begun making wine for a hobby in his garage from grapes he had grown on fourteen acres he purchased near Lodi, CA and was getting pretty good at it. Doug’s intention when buying the property was to sell the grapes wholesale and keep a little for his wine making hobby so the family could have homemade wine to drink at their family gatherings. But after rolling the idea of starting their own winery over in their minds, Doug announced he had found a place in Lockeford, CA and the family agreed it was time to open their own winery. Jeff went to work on getting the business set up and Doug went to work on growing grapes and getting ready to open the first tasting room in an old cement vat that had become a makeshift wine tasting area.
Pretty soon, the family vacations turned into taking time off to travel up to Lodi to plant vineyards, harvest grapes, and assist Doug with the winemaking. Mary was the sole sales associate in the tasting room, and even though she didn’t drink wine, did an amazing job selling it. Unfortunately, because of the remote location of the tasting room, selling the inventory begun to become a challenge and they knew they needed more traffic. At the end of 2002 they began their search for a new location in Southern California. On one of the visits, Jeff met Audrey Cilurzo, a pioneer of Temecula wine country, and she told him about her success at her Temecula winery, Cilurzo Winery. Right away the family came down to check out Temecula and taste the wines. With the weather, soil, location relevant to the ocean, and being an up and coming wine region they knew Temecula had the potential for them to make good wine. In April of 2003, they pulled the trigger and bought the current property the main winery sits on today. Towards the end of 2005, wine was being sold out of a temporary building- fondly named the “trailer days” by our first wine club members. After lots of hard work, the winery had its grand opening on October 14th, 2006 and it has been an amazing journey ever since!
From the humble beginnings, the winery has always been a full family affair and at some time in the winery’s history every family member has been a part of making it successful. From George’s architect design, Dave’s construction background, Doug’s winemaking, Jeff’s business sense, and Sandy’s accounting skills, it has been a true family venture. The family is still heavily involved, and there is always a family member working at the winery every day, including Doug’s son, Joe, who has taken over the winemaking. The winery continues to grow and includes multiple vineyards in Sage, La Cresta, and Temecula. 110 acres a year are farmed, and the grapes harvested create high quality wine from vine to glass. Wiens family is proud of what they have created- a place they know people enjoy and celebrate some of their greatest moments in life.