In December of 2018, we found ourselves without our fearless leader, the constant improver, the one with the grit to do it himself. The one with crazy stories that brought us to tears from laughing so hard. Our founder, Dan, left behind a team of people, some family members and others who had become like family, who all felt a huge void. He also left behind a winery that felt to many like another home. We all knew that the winery had to continue on; it was just a question of ‘how.’ 

When we think of why Sweet Cheeks Winery exists, we remember this story that Dan would tell. Back in the ’80s, when he purchased the property across the street from his home, the dream was ‘simple,’ as he would put it. He would plant a vineyard, sell the grapes to local wineries and build a big shop to tinker around with his various projects. As he planted the vineyard, he noticed the beauty of the sweeping views from the top of the hillside and the peaceful feeling of escape. He then knew he had to share this place with others. That took his ‘simple’ plan in a much different direction, one of building a winemaking facility and tasting room.

This idea of community was foundational to Dan. Once the tasting room was in operation, he was often found enjoying a beverage and watching people come together on the patio. Even as the years went by and the winery was regularly filled with people, it never got old to Dan seeing his vision come to life. Guests would often stop by his table and ask if he worked here, noticing the Sweet Cheeks Winery logo stitched on his Carhartt t-shirt, to which he would always reply, ‘yeah, I work here,’ and they would proceed to talk for an hour, swapping stories back and forth. It seemed like he always made a new friend or two every time he stepped onto the patio. 

Being a place of community remains our daily mission. It’s one of those ‘pinch yourself’ moments when we reflect on how the winery started and look at where we are today. In any given week, we get to meet folks from all over the world, host a couple’s special day as they say ‘I do,’ and reconnect with club members who feel like family. We get to geek out with people about wine and help them select the perfect bottle for a gift, a party, or just tonight’s dinner. 

As we continue this journey, we often think back to our roots and why our tasting room exists when in its place could have easily been a shop full of tools and endless unfinished projects. This place exists to share with all of you. We create our wines to share with you and for you to share with those you love. And that’s it, it’s that simple.