Welcome to Weppler Vineyards.
Weppler Vineyards produces wines in small quantities and is passionately involved in every step of the process, We strive to produce a wine of exceptional complexity, structure and ultimately, quality. One that we are proud to enjoy ourselves and even more proud to share with our friends. We hope you agree.
2012 marked the start of wine production with 50 cases of Cabernet Sauvignon being produced from the small vineyard on our guest house property. This was our first property purchased in 2012 and the almost 300 Cabernet vines planted, started our minds racing as to the possibilities. Towards the end of 2012 we closed on the purchase of the neighboring property containing a larger home and 2 acres of Cabernet Sauvignon vines. We still maintain our home in Indiana but when in Calistoga we stay here. The 2013 harvest marked the first vintage from both vineyards combined to yield around 500 cases. Since then, our 2014 vintage yielded around 500 cases and our 2015 vintage around 325 cases, with the 2014 still in barrel and the 2015 just now going into barrel. The start of the 2015 growing season was early and hence experienced unusually cold rainy weather that took its toll on the formation of grape clusters and the yield.
Our goal is to produce wines of exceptional quality, traditionally handcrafted. This means that all along the process we are focused on doing what is necessary to produce a wine that meets this goal. Whether in the vineyard or in the winery we will invest whatever time and money is required to produce a wine that is of the quality we are proud to put our name on.
In the vineyard, we meticulously maintain the vines paying attention to many small details so as to grow grapes as perfectly as possible for our style of Cabernet. Our vineyard manager is in the vineyard for hours every week during the growing season. The season starts with pruning the vines in such a way as to be certain the clusters are spaced and open for maximum light and air and unwanted shoots known as suckers are removed. The canopy is managed so that the right amount of shade is available during the grapes early stages of development to protect them from Calistoga’s hot summer sun. As we approach harvest, leaves are gradually removed so as to expose the almost ripe grapes to increased sunshine which intensifies the flavor, deepens and darkens the color and softens the texture of the skins. At harvest, we walk the vineyard to identify areas ripening ahead of others so as to schedule picking only areas that are perfectly ripe. It is likely that our small two acre vineyard will be picked three to four times over a 10 – 14 day period. Many wineries would pick that small size of vineyard all at once based on some targeted “average” ripeness.
At the winery, each pick is fermented in its own small fermentation tank. These small tanks are open top fermenters so that we can perform our twice daily punch downs the old fashioned way. Punching down is a term used to describe circulating the skins within the juice given that the skins float to the top forming a cap on top of the juice. We punch the cap down into the juice using a long pole with a large stainless steel disk attached to the bottom of it. Many wineries simply pump the juice over the top of the skins to circulate it. However, while more laborious, our method better agitates the juice intensifying the juice’s contact with the skins so as to encourage a greater extraction of flavor and color from the skins. To foster a softer tannin structure to the wine, we drain and press the skins when fermentation is almost complete rather than 100% complete and then finish fermentation without the skins. The wine will spend 18 – 20 months in a combination of new and used french oak barrels.