ACAMPO – Across the railroad tracks stands the new phase of a winery that has produced an array of wonderful single varietals, blends and even sparkling wine for more than a decade.
Peltier Station Winery had been a stalwart on the Lodi wine scene, mainly as a bulk-wine producer. But husband-wife owners Rodney and Gayla Schatz have embarked on a new vision with a new look and a fresh attitude for their enterprise in Acampo.
Gone is the homespun Peltier Station name and label. Now, the re-branded Peltier Winery sports a cleaner, more sophisticated label, and on Saturday, the Schatz’s will host the grand opening of their first on-premise tasting room, a place they call their “pop-up” tasting room.
“This is our first tasting room, though we’ve been making wine for some time,” Gayla Schatz said.
The “pop-up” tasting room conveys the Schatzes’ desire to eventually build a permanent tasting room as well as offices at North Kennefick and Peltier roads on the northwest corner of their property, a parcel they purchased in 1985 some three months after they were married.
“There was nothing here,” said Rodney Schatz, a third-generation farmer and Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo graduate. “It was all vineyards.”
Rodney and his parents manage about 1,200 acres combined. In 2001, Rodney and Gayla started Peltier Station Winery as a bulk wine and custom-crush facility. Their company grew and in 2006, the Schatzes released their first wines from the 2005 vintage under the Peltier Station label, named for the winery’s proximity to the railroad tracks that run north to south along their property but barely are in use any more.
Last year, Rodney and Gayla decided to re-brand their winery, so they hired Ian Bender to come up with new labels for their entire line, including five new brands, and a marketing strategy. The Schatzes also put into motion plans to convert a corner of their storage facility into a “pop-up” tasting room, so they could present their wines and interact with their customers face-to-face.
“It’s just been a continual construction project because we keep adding and adding an adding,” Rodney Schatz said. “Then, having Ian on board to redo our labels and change the whole mode of the place allowed us to say, ‘OK, now we can add a tasting room. Now, we can take the next step.’ So, we’re pretty proud of that.”
The new Peltier Winery labels are clean, modern and striking. The core of each label has “Peltier” in all caps at the top and their trademark red diamond logo in the middle. On the reserve labels, the word “Reserve” is sculptured emboss in cursive on one side. The estate line has a diamond capital “P” cut into a corner of the label showing the bottle. Their hy.brid wine labels have a half-green and half-white grape leaf centered with an “H” in the middle.
The “pop-up” tasting room is bordered by pallet walls, and the bar’s wooden planks are supported by wine barrels. The Peltier Winery collection is on full display throughout the space. In one corner stands their USB dessert wine, as in USB computer port, so-named because “Port” can’t be used to describe any fortified wine not made in Portugal. Nearby is the eye-catching display for The Gala sparkling wine, a blend of classic champagne varietals, chardonnay and pinot noir, made in the traditional method by Rack and Riddle in Healdsburg.
Depending on the year, Rodney and his family will grow up to 15 varietals, with everything from the noble varieties, such as cabernet sauvignon and chardonnay, to more experimental varieties, such as teroldego. All of their wines are made from grapes grown on their property.
Though the look and attitude of their winery have changed, the Schatzes haven’t changed their insistence on living up to their motto: “exceptional wine for good food, to share with all.”
Rodney Schatz is particularly insistent on his wines being food-friendly, as he’s an outstanding cook.
“We’re eventually going to build out a more formal facility but for now, people love this and it’s a lot of fun,” Rodney Schatz said. “It took some dollars and effort, but it worked out fine, so it’s a good little spot.”
Bob HighfillRecord Sports Editor Bob Highfill is a wine enthusiast and has earned Level 3 certification with the Wine and Spirit Education Trust of London through the Napa Valley Wine Academy. Bob will share some of his experiences from his travels to Lodi and other prime wine locales in his blog and welcomes your suggestions, reviews and wine speak.
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