Steve and Lori Felten, fifth generation grape growers in the Lodi region, continue the tradition of cultivating "Old Vine" Zinfandel vineyards that their ancestors planted in the early 1900's.
With roots in Germany, Russia and later the Dakotas, the family settled in Lodi, first producing watermelons. Recognizing that the soil and climate were ideal for growing grapes, they began to plant varieties that included Zinfandel, Tokay, Carignan, and Alicante. For over one hundred years, the family has cultivated the land with the aim of producing top quality fruit. Zinfandel was one of the first grape varieties to be planted in the Lodi appellation, although it had also been established in other parts of the California.
In 1996, the family began to produce Zinfandel for the bulk wine market, selling wine to a number of prestigious, benchmark producers of Zinfandel in Napa and Sonoma Counties.
In 2000, Steve and Lori made the decision to start their own winery with the mission to produce exceptional Zinfandel. They continue to make wine from all of the vineyard blocks, culling only the very best lots for bottling Klinker Brick and designated vineyard wines. They produced their first Syrah in 2001. They have one goal...to produce world-class wine.
Klinker Bricks are highly prized bricks that grace many of the historical buildings in Lodi, including the owner's home. Chosen by Craftsmen architects in the 1920's for their distinctive qualities, including unique shapes and dark, rich color, these bricks are "heavier" than regular bricks "Klinker" refers to the sound that they would make when banged together, because of their increased weight. Rich, deep color, enormous density, unique and distinctive are the same qualities found in their old vine Zinfandel.
The Felten Family own and manage fifteen individual vineyard blocks of "Old Vine" Zinfandel that range in age from 35 to 110 years old. Each vineyard is planted in sandy loam soils along the Lodi Mokelumne River Region and up into the Clements Foothills. These vineyards are generally head-trained and dry farmed, yielding an average of 2.0 to 3.5 ton per acre. Some of the oldest vineyards have yields as small as .25 ton per acre. While there are significant limitations in the quantity of grapes produced, the quality of fruit is exceptional. The grapes come from several different vineyards within the Lodi Appellation, depending upon the highest quality of fruit produced each year, and has included several vineyards in the Mokelumne and in the Clements Hills region.
From time to time, they produce single vineyard designated wines that express unique character, in addition to exceptional quality. These wines are produced in very small quantities and are extremely limited.