Contact: Stephen Tenbrink
Contact: Proprietor | Winemaker
Address: 5260 Gordon Valley Rd.
Membership: small producer
Date Joined: February 11, 2016
Web Site: Tenbrink Ranch
Comments: We farm for a living, and have most of our adult lives. We came to the Suisun Valley as young newlyweds, with no experience in agriculture at all, and bought our first five acres, where the winery is now. As our family grew so did our farmland. The vineyards are just over half of the acreage we work now – about 60 acres. We also have another 52 acre farm mostly planted with walnuts, and a “market garden” of many varieties of fruit trees and an heirloom tomato patch of several hundred varieties each year.
The winery evolved through the meeting of Abe Schoener; not as one might think over discussions of grapes or wine, but over the important selection of tomatoes for his dinner party. In 2002, we managed to convince Abe to visit our vineyard. He was very reluctant. However, once he took sight of the vineyards he said, “I knew that I was going to buy some of those grapes before I even got out of the car”. We were so happy that as a present to Abe we gave him some of our Petite Sirah grapes, which became the foundation of his Scholium Project – Babylon.
Things grow rapidly around us – and so did the Scholium Project. At Abe’s urging we built a winery, as he had outgrown the facility he was using in Napa. Once again, entering the winery business completely naïve – (probably a good thing we didn’t know) headfirst with no experience at winemaking .
However, maybe it’s in the blood, because during Prohibition, Steve’s maternal grandmother spent time in the slammer for selling her homemade wine to the wrong person! And, my maternal grandfather was a vineyard master and winemaker in the Italian Alps.