Meet the members of the fourth-generation family of growers.


Explore the humble beginnings for what has now become California’s largest winery entertainment complex


Discover our collection of well-crafted, California wine.

The Kautz Family

A Fourth-Generation Family of Growers

Historical Timeline

The Kautz Family

And So It Begins

Starting in Nebraska in 1915 and later moving into Colorado, John Kautz’ German-born parents, Fred and Marie, topped sugar beets by lantern “because there wasn’t enough daylight” and slept in mud huts. Eventually settling in Lodi, CA, the Kautz family began farming there in 1926.

Small Steps, Big Vision

John Kautz is named “National Outstanding Young Farmer” at the age of 35. During that time he has established John Kautz Farms for the purpose of growing vegetables. “We’re really just dirt farmers,” recalls John. “We’re farmers, and when you grow a crop, you’d better get into the program all the way.”

Murphys Grapes

The Sky's the Limit

John Kautz establishes Bear Creek Winery and the family’s first wine grapes are planted in 1968, in the Lodi area. Over the next 20 years the family vineyards will expand to the current holding of 5000 acres.

Building on a Foundation

The development and building of Ironstone Vineyards begins. Ten thousand square feet of underground caves are blasted from solid rock.

Dreams Realized

The building of the winery is completed and the Tasting Room is opened. Ironstone Vineyards is officially on the map.

Family of Brands

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