In 1926, the Kautz family began farming in the Lodi region and in 1948, John Kautz Farms was founded. In 1990, after many successful years of growing wine grapes, the family completed the Ironstone Winery. The Ironstone Winery is a modern replica of an 1859 Gold Stamp Mill complete with tasting room, gourmet delicatessen, wine aging cavern, conference and wedding facilities, outdoor Amphitheatre, and 14.5 acres of landscaped gardens. The Heritage Museum and Jewelry Shoppe contains artifacts from the gold rush era, as well as the largest specimen of Crystalline Gold Leaf – a 44 lb. treasure. The family philosophy of winemaking is that quality wine grapes, a touch of artistry and patience create captivating, elegant wines.

The Vineyards: Located at 2400 ft. above sea level, these grapes were estate- grown at our Hay Station Ranch vineyard where warm days are cooled by the evening mountain air. This area’s unique soil of decomposed granite mixed with volcanic sediment and red clay produce a wonderful mineral component. Grapes have been grown in the Sierra Foothills for 150 years.

Sustainable Viticultural Practices: At Ironstone, the vineyard manager, has at his disposal, a variety of sound, ecological vineyard practices which can be employed depending on what Mother Nature delivers during the growing season. We use crop reduction, leaf removal, organic materials, and drip irrigation to improve the quality and intensity of flavors. Cover crops, which attract beneficial insects, are also employed. In addition, we place owl and wood duck boxes around the vineyards and ponds helping to preserve the surrounding habitats.

Winemaking Processes: These fully mature grapes were picked at their peak and delivered to the winery after being selected by our winemaker. After undergoing extended fermentation and maceration, the wine was transferred into small oak barrels and placed into our underground caverns to ensure a fuller, richer, finer wine of true varietal character. Hand blasted by local miners, many whose families came for gold in the 1800’s, these caverns remain a natural 60 degrees Fahrenheit year-round temperature which slowly lowers the wine’s alcohol while preserving its concentration of flavor.

2020 Reserve Cabernet Franc Sierra Foothills ~ Estate Grown

Our Winemaker’s Notes: The Reserve 2020 Cabernet Franc is an elegant, rich yet soft wine. With fleshy black cherry, blackberry, and spicy oak aromas this seductive Cabernet Franc is worth drinking now or cellaring for a special occasion. Succulent, dark fruit flavors of plum, black cherry with a hint of sweet oak fills the palate and gives way to a smooth, medium finish.

Chef Recommends: Cabernet Franc is a surprising wine that pairs well with both light and hearty dishes. It’s an excellent choice for chicken Marsala, roasted pork with apple stuffing and roasted or grilled red meats. It can also be a great starter with a salad of sliced Anjou pears with roasted walnuts and blue cheese crumbles.

Awards: San Francisco Chronicle Wine Comp., Jan. 2022 (v. 2019) GOLD

Amador County Wine Comp., Apr. 2021 (v. 2019) DOUBLE GOLD, Apr. 2021 (v. 2018) 92 Points

Appellation: Sierra Foothills

Blend: 85% Cabernet Franc, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon

Aging: 12 months in small French & American oak Barrels

Alcohol: 14.5%

2018 Reserve Meritage Sierra Foothills ~ Estate Grown

Winemaker’s Notes: For the 2018 vintage, our Winemaker chose three of the noble Bordeaux grape varieties to be a part of this magnificent blend which is an exceptionally elegant full-bodied wine. Aromas of blackberry jam, cassis and cola layered by mint and white pepper are displayed. Luscious, cooked berry fruit fills the mouth with hints of vanilla and rich blackberry carries through to a smooth and well-rounded finish.

Chef Recommends: The French countryside, where meals are prepared with minimal fanfare, is the inspiration for pairing with Meritage. Simple foods, such as coq au vin, Roasted leg of lamb and braised beef brisket are excellent choices.

Awards: Foothill Wine Competition, May 2021 DOUBLE GOLD, 95 Pts (v. 2017)

Critics Challenge, July 2020 GOLD, 93 Pts (v. 2017)

Amador County Wine Competition, May 2019 GOLD (v. 2014)

Mother Lode Wine Competition., July 2016 First Place (v. 2013)

Appellation: Sierra Foothills

Blend: 82% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13% Merlot, 3% Petite Verdot

Aging: 12 months in small French & American oak Barrels

Alcohol: 14.50%

2020 Reserve Kramer Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon Sierra Foothills ~ Estate Grown

Winemaker’s Notes: Seductive and full-bodied, our Reserve 2020 Cabernet Sauvignon is an elegant, rich yet soft wine. Silky tannins and well-structured aromas of fresh berries with cassis, black currants, black cherries and toasted oak create a magical harmony of gorgeous fruit characteristics. Big and powerful, yet elegant, this Cabernet exhibits flavors of sweet dark blackberry and plum with soft, creamy vanilla that plays well with the unique mineral qualities found only in wines produced in the Sierra Foothills.

Chef Recommends: Our Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon is a great wine to pair with hearty red meats. Try it with a pan-seared filet mignon with Cabernet sauce or braised lamb with horseradish and parsley.

Awards: The Wine Guy, Feb 2012 92 Points (v. 2009)

Appellation: Sierra Foothills

Blend: 100% Cabernet Sauvignon

Aging: 20 months in small French & American oak Barrels

Alcohol: 15.0%

2020 Reserve Lodi “Rous Vineyard” Ancient Vine Zinfandel

Winemaker’s Notes ~ Grapes grown on these 111-year-old vines produce “Ancient Vine” Zinfandel that is so well-made its seamless characteristics are unforgettable. Multi-dimensional in aromas and flavors, this generously rich Zinfandel offers plush aromas and flavors of ripe blackberries, brown spices, clove, caramel, and slight vanilla, finishing with well-rounded tannins and a lingering dark, fruit finish.

About the 2019 Vintage ~ 2020 was a mild and normal summer in Lodi without harvest precipitation. There were no extended heat spells and the temperature remained consistent throughout. Warm days combined with the cool Pacific Ocean breezes coming through daily in Lodi’s unique microclimate creating excellent growing conditions. This allowed for full flavors, intense color, and balanced acidity.

Awards:, Mar. 2018 94 Points (v. 2015)

International Wine Review, Jun. 2017 91 Points (v. 2014)

California Zinfandel Championships, Sep. 2016 Double Gold (v. 2014)

Appellation: Lodi

Blend: 100% Rous Zinfandel

Aging: 10 months in small French oak

Alcohol: 14.5%

2021 Limited Release Muscat Canelli

Winemaker Notes: The 2021 is made in a traditional style electing to portray the incredible floral characters of orange blossoms, gardenia, jasmine, rose petals, spring wildflowers and a touch of lychee nut in the nose. Fresh apricots, tangerines and peaches dominate the luscious texture on the palate. This dessert style wine has a rich and long finish that is clean and refreshing.

Chef Recommends: This Muscat Canelli is fantastic with blackened chicken or shrimp served with a “no mayo” slaw. Also, Indian curry dishes and Jerk chicken are excellent pairings.

Awards:, Mar. 2018 94 Points (v. 2015)

International Wine Review, Jun. 2017 91 Points (v. 2014)

California Zinfandel Championships, Sep. 2016 Double Gold (v. 2014)

Appellation: Calaveras

Blend: 100% Muscat Canelli

Alcohol: 12.56%