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Weibel Family Vineyards and Wine: Step Back in Time with Remarkable Wines

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They say good things come to those who wait; the wisdom of this proverb definitely applies to the wines produced over the course of eight decades by three generations of the Weibel family.

It all began in Switzerland, when Rudolph Weibel and his son, Fred Sr., immersed themselves in learning the traditional tricks of the winemaking trade in their native land. With these time-worn techniques in their back pockets, the pair made the long trip to the United States in 1937. Rudolph and Fred Sr. spent a year working at Columbia Winery in Vancouver, Washington, before settling in San Francisco, California, in 1938. There, the hard-working duo made sparkling wine below the hustle and bustle of Clay Street, in the basement of the William Tell Hotel. As the success of the William Tell Hotel wines grew, so did the reputation of the two Swiss winemakers.

Three Generations, Eight Decades
In 1945, the opportunity arose for the winemakers to purchase 100 acres of historic vineyards in Fremont, California, and they were eager to make quality wines, their way. With determination to restore the land to its former glory, the Weibels revitalized the production facilities, replanted the vines and put the wheels in motion for the award-winning wines they are known for today. In 1996, after 50 productive years in Fremont, Fred Weibel, Jr. relocated the family winery and its long-time employees to the prosperous wine-growing region known as Lodi, California.

Weibel Family Vineyards & Winery is owned and operated by Fred Weibel, Jr. and his wife, Judy. Keeping it all in the family, Fred’s stepson, Bob Ireland, acts as the operation’s manager and the winemaking gene continues through Fred’s son, Justin Weibel, who graduated from UC Davis with a degree in fermentation. Justin is currently pursuing winemaking for other wineries in California.

“We have never lost sight of our family’s mission to produce well-crafted wines and sparkling wines,” Fred Jr. confirmed. “Our sparkling wines include Almond, Peach, Peach Mango, Raspberry, Pomegranate, Citron, Pina Colada, Strawberry, Moscato, Grand Cuvee, Stanford Brut and a non-alcoholic, Champagnette. Our variety of white wines showcases the unrivaled, rich grapes of the local region and pairs perfectly most anything. Our reds are crafted using the highest quality grapes, traditional techniques and a passion for the craft. We also produce award-winning wines such as petite sirah, zinfandel, chardonnay, cabernet sauvignon and pinot grigio. We have a wine that is perfect for every person, every occasion, every day.”

The Weibels are also among the few California winemakers allowed to have the word “Champagne” on two of their sparkling wine labels. Because their winery was producing before new laws were passed in 2006, they were grandfathered in and were able to use the word that today refers only to sparkling wine made in that region of France.

Weibel Tasting Room
Judy Weibel is deeply involved in the business, but her role revolves around fun, celebration, festivities and creating an exceptional place for Central Valley wine appreciators to relax and connect. In 2014, the couple opened a tasting room in Downtown Lodi with a vision of bringing one of their mantras, “Make every day worthy of wine, with a wine worthy of every day,” to life.

“We opened the Weibel Tasting Room almost three years ago, and it got very big, very fast,” Judy shared. “People love the 1940s décor, period correct music and the rich ambiance. Our team is also adamant about creating an exceptional experience for those who visit us. Our next project is to use part of our warehouse to create a 3,000-square-foot warehouse event center that has a vintage-winemaking-inspired, industrial feel to it. It drives Fred crazy having elegant chandeliers hanging in his working warehouse space, but the partygoers love the look, presentation and feel of this space. We are still working out the details in making this new event space the best it can be. The focal point of everything we do is quality and craftsmanship, but it’s also in offering our communities and wine club members a unique opportunity to gather, connect and celebrate life.”

Service to Community
Beyond a love of wine, both Fred Jr. and Judy have a commitment to giving back to their community. When they’re not planning gatherings and pick-up parties for wine club members, both donate their time, talent and treasure to local organizations. Fred also volunteers his plane and piloting experience as a member of Angel Flight West, an organization of 1,000 pilots who donate their time and their airplanes to fly medical patients, and to Wings of Rescue; a rescue organization that transports misplaced dogs to their forever homes. Fred was also named Stocktonian of the Year in 2016.

“Fred and I both have a passion for life,” Judy noted. “Our biggest success is to be able to continue to offer expertly crafted wines while being able to integrate fun and excitement in everything that we do.” ■

To learn more about Weibel Family Vineyards & Winery, visit weibelwine.com.