Ironstone is now run by the fourth generation of the Kautz family and is located in the Sierra Foothills town of Murphy, in the heart of California’s scenic Gold Rush Country. In the early 1900s, Frederick and Marie Kautz came to America from Germany, buying farmland through a US Land Grant in the Lodi region of the San Joaquin Valley. Frederick passed away in 1940, leaving the farm to his young son John, who in 1948 dedicated 12 acres of their farm exclusively to growing grapes. John quickly built an excellent reputation as a premium grape supplier, amassing over 6,500 acres devoted to vines in Lodi and in the Sierra Foothills. By the 1960s, John had become one of the top ten wine grape growers in California, and in 1969 was honored with the National “Young Farmers” Award. In 1988, John, his wife Gail, with the help of their children Steven, Kurt, Jack and Joan, decided to follow their dream of building a winery. Their state-of-the-art production facility is filled with antiques and gold mining artifacts. The majestic grounds, complete with a natural spring lake, offer scenic picnic areas and are home to the Ironstone Amphitheatre, which hosts an annual concert series. Ironstone’s tasting room features an antique tasting bar and a 42-foot rock fireplace. Other sites at the winery include a Culinary Exhibition kitchen located within the Conference Center, the historical mining museum and the jewelry shop that has the world’s largest crystalline gold leaf specimen on display. Located 42 feet below ground are 10,000 sq. feet of hand blasted caverns that maintain a year-round temperature of 60° Fahrenheit and are used for aging Ironstone wines. In 2011, Ironstone winery was ranked #6 in total wine grape acreage and #7 in total grape acreage in California.
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