Farming family

Retreat at the end of the road

WINE TIME In addition to lobster fests, Fernwood Cellars is hosting its harvest party concert with Sugadady on Oct. 13. Photo: Laura Ness

When you get here, you’ve come as far as you can on this dead-end road, but what a place to end. A streamside picnic grove amid the redwoods awaits you, with tables and chairs and little tree trunks to sit on for weddings and such. Although the signs at the gate portend something grand, this remains a humble, rustic spot, given to tranquility and reflection befitting its origins as a metaphysical retreat established in 1891.

Owner, farmer and winemaker Matt Oetinger has been making wine since 1995, after he graduated from UC Davis, but the history of this property dates back to 1863, when Oetinger’s family first arrived to farm the land five generations ago.

His father, Lew, has vineyards in Shingle Springs (El Dorado County), and inspired Matt to pursue a career in wine.

Today, Matt manages 200 acres of local vineyards, from large estates to backyard plots. Try the grenache he planted from nearby Bates Ranch, his plummy old vine carignane from Rositano Vineyard and his strawberry-bright cinsault from Dos Rios Vineyard, all managed by him and all on Redwood Retreat Road.

This is a special spot for weddings and concerts, and a 600SF onsite guest suite is available to rent. Fernwood Cellars hosts two lobster boils every year, as well as an upcoming harvest party concert with Sugadady on Oct. 13. Matt might just wear his lederhosen in honor of his German heritage.

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About Laura Ness
Laura Ness is an accomplished freelance writer offering travel tips and commentary on the California wine industry.