John and Randy Baranek are third- and fourth-generation members of the Herzog family, which helped establish the rich agricultural foundation of California’s Sacramento Delta area.
At the beginning of the 20th century, John Herzog was known throughout the region as a public-spirited citizen, a man who helped grow commerce without stepping on those less fortunate. But he died an untimely death in 1919, leaving his wife and two oldest sons to operate the Delta Dairy.
The dairy served Delta residents for more than two decades, and the family worked closely with the University of California at Davis to develop a high-quality, high-producing herd.
After selling the dairy, the Baraneks did not wish to sever their connection to the land. So, in 1960, they planted an experimental vineyard with several types of grape varieties. The first wine-worthy grapes were produced in 1963, and hauled to Fresno State to be turned into wine.
Those finished wines were shared with the winemakers at Christian Brothers, who liked what they tasted and encouraged the Baraneks to plant more vines. The Baraneks heeded Brother Timothy’s words and gradually expanded plantings over time.
After growing and selling grapes for more than 40 years, the Baraneks established Ehrhardt Estates Winery in 2002 and began making their own wine. The estate is named after the Ehrhardt family, which sold 640 acres of prime land to John Herzog back in 1902.
When you open a bottle from Ehrhardt Estates, you’re not just tasting good wine; you’re taking a sip of California wine history.