…Fred E. Weibel, Sr., learned traditional tricks of the winemaking trade in their native land of Switzerland. With these time-worn techniques, the pair immigrated to the United States in 1937. Fred and Rudolph spent a year working at Columbia Winery in Vancouver, Washington before settling in San Francisco, California in 1938. There, the two made sparkling wine below the hustle and bustle of Clay Street, in the basement of the William Tell Hotel. As the success of the William Tell Hotel wines grew, so did the reputation of the two Swiss winemakers.
In 1946, the opportunity arose to purchase 100 acres of historical vineyards in Fremont, California—and the Weibel family grabbed it. The Mission San Jose vineyards held a rich history, first being owned in the 1800’s by California Governor, Leland Stanford. The grounds, however, were in a state of decay when acquired by the Weibel family. With a determination to restoring the land to its former glory, the Weibels revitalized the production facilities, replanted the vines, and put Oscar Habluetzel, Fred’s brother-in-law, in charge of winemaking—a position he had held for 37 years.
…the Weibel family kept up with the changing American palate, offering sweet and fortified wines in the 40s and 50s, and introducing drier wines such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Sauvignon Blanc in the 60s. In 1959, Weibel pioneered wine called Green Hungarian, which became extremely popular amongst new wine drinkers. During this time their private label sparkling wines continued to thrive.
In 1996, after 50 productive years in Fremont, Fred Weibel, Jr. relocated the family winery and its long-time employees to the prosperous wine-growing region known as Lodi, California. Adam Poirier, who graduated from California Polytechnic State University, in San Luis Obispo, California is the Winemaker, and Edgar Rodriguez is the Assistant Winemaker.
… the Weibel family continues to produce fine wines—from naturally flavored sparkling wines to beautiful red and white varietals, (and even a non-alcoholic “champagnette”). The Weibel Vineyards is still operated under the direction of Fred Weibel, Jr., President and Owner. He continues to produce sparkling wines, with the same humble and hardworking ethics that were instilled in him by his ancestors.
The Weibel legacy continues in their mentorship of employees. Fred spends time with the winemaking team, passing on the techniques and traditions of the family winemaking process. Our current department directors have all started in other positions within the company; through opportunity, learning, and mentoring they have been able to develop as professionals and continue to build careers at Weibel. Weibel truly is a family company that treats its over 60 employees with respect and opportunity.
Weibel is also an asset to the community, frequently supporting fundraising causes for local education, veterans, hospice, community development, and the growth of the Lodi wine industry. Fred Weibel Jr. Personally demonstrates an inherent love for his community by helping those in need—volunteering both his plane and piloting experience to helping fly medical patients to and from treatment centers and transport burn victims to burn centers.