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Our History

The story of Ironstone Vineyards started in the hands of John Kautz, a young row crop farmer from Lodi who saw the future in growing wine grapes in Lodi. With 12 acres in 1948, John quickly built an excellent reputation as a premium wine grape supplier, amassing over 5,000 acres of grapes in Lodi and the Sierra Foothills and eventually becoming the "2012 Grower of the Year," by the California Association of Winegrape Growers. 

Fourth generation family growers, the Kautz family philosophy is, “quality wine grapes, a touch of artistry, and patience create captivating elegant wines."  Steve Millier, our Winemaker since 1989, understands each grape variety and how it develops during the growing season along with the effect that the soil and climate bring from both the Lodi and Sierra Foothills vineyards.  The results are award winning, modern, fruit-flavored wines in our Classic range and intense full-bodied wines in our Reserve range.  Distribution includes the United States as well as over 50 countries spread throughout Europe, Asia, North and South America.  

The next big step for Ironstone was the creation of a “homesite,” a winery and visitors center that would exemplify the Kautz family commitment to excellence, and provide an environment that would reach beyond the world of winemaking to include the support of the cultural arts. 

Ironstone takes its name from the impossibly hard schist and limestone formations from which the winery’s foundation and companion caverns were blasted and drilled.  In 1989, the Kautz family assembled a crew of professional miners to blast, pick and shovel their way through the solid limestone and schist rock hillside of Gail's family ranch in Murphys, California.  

Humble beginnings for what has now become California’s largest winery entertainment complex.