Klinker Brick Winery

Lodi, CA, USA

Steve and Lori Felten, proud fifth-generation grape growers in the Lodi region, have embraced their family legacy by cultivating “Old Vine” Zinfandel vineyards that were planted by their ancestors in the early 1900s. With a rich heritage stemming from Germany, Russia, and the Dakotas, their family settled in Lodi, initially focusing on watermelon production. However, they soon recognized that the soil and climate were ideal for growing grapes, leading them to plant a diverse range of varieties including Zinfandel, Tokay, Carignane, and Alicante. 

For over a century, the Felten family has devoted themselves to cultivating the land with the utmost dedication to producing top-quality fruit. Zinfandel, a pioneering grape variety in the Lodi appellation, holds a special place in their vineyards, although it has also thrived in other parts of California.

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During the early years, the harvested grapes were primarily packed in boxes and shipped to the East Coast and Canada, where they were used for home winemaking. Only a small portion of the Zinfandel grapes were retained for making wine at home. By the mid-1930s, the majority of grapes were sold to cooperatives and larger private wineries, with a limited quantity shipped east.

In the past, flood and ditch irrigation methods were employed in the vineyards, lacking precision in water application and resulting in larger yields of moderate quality. However, in the late 1980s, the introduction of drip irrigation revolutionized vineyard practices. This innovative system allowed for precise control over water application to each vine, enabling better vine vigor control, healthier fruit, and ultimately lower yields. The implementation of more advanced vineyard techniques such as shoot thinning, leaf pulling, color thinning, and the removal of a second crop further enhanced the ability to produce grapes of exceptional quality.

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Within the extended Felten family, the winemaker, Barry Gnekow, plays an integral role in crafting the wines of Klinker Brick Winery. A graduate of Davis with over 25 years of winemaking experience, Barry possesses a unique talent for translating the vineyard’s finest qualities into the cellar year after year. His expertise and skill contribute to the production of distinctive wines that embody the essence of Klinker Brick.

Lynne Whyte Barnard, another esteemed member of the extended family, holds the position of President at Klinker Brick Winery. With her wealth of entrepreneurial experience, including ownership of a wholesale company and directing sales and marketing for renowned wine producers in California, Lynne has played a vital role in the winery’s development. She has been instrumental in the creation of the Old Ghost wine, the design of the label, and has spearheaded the successful national and international distribution of all the vintages produced to date.

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At Klinker Brick Winery, tradition is honored, and excellence is a pursuit that resonates throughout every aspect of their winemaking. The Felten family’s commitment to their vineyards, combined with the expertise of Barry Gnekow and the leadership of Lynne Whyte Barnard, ensures that each bottle of Klinker Brick wine is a testament to their dedication and passion. 

As they continue to build upon their family heritage, Klinker Brick invites wine enthusiasts to join them on a remarkable journey of flavor, authenticity, and the enduring spirit of winemaking.

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Klinker's Wines

  • Klinker Brick Winery 'Old Ghost' Old Vine Zinfandel

    Zinfandel

  • Klinker Brick Winery Old Vine Zinfandel

    Zinfandel

  • Klinker Brick Winery 'Brickmason'

    Cabernet

  • Klinker Brick Winery Farrah Syrah

    Syrah

  • Klinker Brick Winery '1850' Red

    Red Blend

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