Oak Farm Vineyards
Historic Lodi with Contemporary Flair
A winery is a very special place. There is a magic to walking through the vineyards that exists nowhere else on Earth. Every wine maker works diligently to distinguish their brand from their competitors – often characterizing their product by the region, family, or some specialization in a varietal that they offer. Some utilize the latest methods, while others practice traditions dating back centuries.
Exceedingly rare are those labels that are able to blend rich history and modern precision to produce a distinctive product that stands on its own. Such is the case with Oak Farm vineyards. Founded in 1860 at the very heart of Lodi Wine Country’s Central Valley region, the land used to create their distinctive wines has been cared for and tended for more than a hundred and fifty years.
A Link to the Past
The name Oak Farm comes from the majestic trees that flourish throughout the 70 acre property. Originally purchased from the Elkhorn Township in 1860, William DeVries had come west from Baltimore with ideas of striking it rich with California Gold. He found it more profitable provisioning the other prospectors of the area, and turned to farming and cattle.
DeVries loved the land he had found, specifically the old oak trees found throughout the property. He refused to cut them down to make room for his cattle, as most other ranchers did at the time. His resolve and dedication to the land and his ideals became well known and respected, and the land owners throughout the area came to know his property as the Oak Farm.
The colonial style home and plantation that he built between 1864 and 1879 are still standing today, along with many of the original oaks that he cared for and protected during his life. They bring visitors a real sense of history, now serving to shelter and define sixty acres of vines cared for and cultivated by the new owners.
Restoration and Renewal
Dan Panella and his family now care for the estate. Like DeVries before him, Panella fell in love with the land and historic beauty of the valley. The Panella family assumed responsibility of the Oak Farm estate in 2004, working tirelessly to restore the property and colonial mansion to its former splendor. Three generations of the family live and work Oak Farm, creating truly remarkable wines and distributing them to their customers worldwide.
Fourteen varieties of grapes cover the land, woven expertly between the towering oaks that give the label its name. Dan’s passion and experience for agriculture carries back to his early years driving a tractor through the walnut and cherry orchards owned by his family. The look and feel of the property, and its 2,600 square foot wine tasting room are due to the landscape design experience of Heather Panella, Dan’s wife. She marries form and function to create a unique balance between the historic and contemporary identities of Lodi, with breathtaking results.
The dedicated expertise of experienced winemaker Chad Joseph helps bring the family’s vision to light in a fantastic portfolio of wine varietals. Holding a degree in Botany from Humboldt State University with an emphasis on chemistry, Chad has acted as a consulting winemaker for Oak Farm – helping to shape the label’s signature offerings for years. In 2017, the team added up and coming assistant winemaker Sierra Zeiter, who graduated from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, majoring in Wine and Viticulture with a concentration in Enology.
An Exceptional Portfolio
The winery offers a wide range of varietals, perfect for every season and occasion. For their reds, the Oak Farms Petit Verdot carries sweet oak notes with blackberry and blueberry flavors that grow bolder as time passes, while their Barbera offers enticing aromas of spices, tea and cherries. Traditional favorites such as a dark garnet Zinfandel and the Cabernet Sauvignon offer rich flavors and complex aromas that go well with dinner or on their own.
Among their whites, you can find the sweet caramel flavors that come through in the Oak Farms Chardonnay, or the rich tropical fruity aromas of their Sauvignon Blanc. For somewhere in between, they offer an elegant Rose with peach and cherry notes with a deeper plum and blackberry finish. And for a blended red, their Tievoli is a complex layered experience full of dark fruit flavors married to delicious mocha and vanilla spices.
Whatever your mood and whatever the occasion, this fine Lodi vineyard offers something for everyone. The Oak Farms family is a stunning combination of expert winemaking, meticulous business savvy, and a commitment to continuously pursue perfection. Their team is finely tuned. Their wines, superb.