Our Story

Since 1982, Stuhlmuller Vineyards has built a reputation as growers of world-class grapes, selling their coveted fruit to a number of top area wineries.

By the mid-‘90s, Fritz Stuhlmuller was so inspired by the complex wines being made from his family’s vineyard that he established a small, artisan winery bearing the Stuhlmuller name.

The vineyard’s unique terroir creates Chardonnay fruit with classic Alexander Valley tropical characteristics, food-friendly citrus acidity, and a distinctive mineral touch.

The Cabernet Sauvignon offers enticing hints of sage and bay leaf coupled with the region’s signature flavors of rich cherry, black fruit, and cocoa.

 Stuhlmuller Vineyards also produces two highly sought-after Zinfandels, an Estate Sauvignon Blanc, two Pinot Noirs from the highly acclaimed Starr Ridge Vineyard in the Russian River Valley, and a delicious fortified Cabernet.

Our Family History in Alexander Valley

1880s


Cyrus Alexander, Original Pioneer of Alexander Valley

The rich history of the Stuhlmuller property goes all the way back to 1800’s mountain-man and rancher, Cyrus Alexander, for whom the Alexander Valley is named. Part of Alexander’s original 9000-acre ranch, today’s Stuhlmuller Vineyard has undergone many incarnations. Although grapes were likely planted on the property before 1900, Prohibition wiped out nearly all of the Valley’s vineyards and by the 1930s it was dotted with orchards and cattle pastures.

1982


Roger and Fritz Stuhlmuller

In 1982, Roger and Carmen Stuhlmuller purchased a 150-acre property located at the southwestern edge of the Alexander Valley. Impressed by the quality of the 90-acres of original 1970’s vine plantings, the Stuhlmullers realized the remarkable viticultural potential of the land. Bordered to the east by the Russian River, the vineyard is situated on a unique geological site that is part river bench and part hillside. There, the vines benefit from gravel, clay, and volcanic soils, formed during thousands of years of alluvial fan movement and flooding, as well as from rocky, uplifted benchland soils that comprise the hillside sections of the vineyard. These ancient soils combined with the area’s microclimates, including clockwork fog and cool nighttime temperatures, yield fruit with a signature mineral quality, good acidity, and complex flavors.

1996


The Stuhlmuller Barn

Over the years, Roger and Carmen, along with their son Fritz, have meticulously developed the vineyard into 150 acres of prized Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel. The Stuhlmullers quickly established a reputation as growers of world-class grapes, supplying such notable wineries as Jordan, Chateau Souverain, and Lioco with fruit. Fritz was so inspired by the complex, expressive wines being made from his family’s vineyard that in 1996, he established a small, artisan winery bearing the Stuhlmuller name.  By 2000, Fritz had achieved his goal of turning Stuhlmuller Vineyards into an Estate winery by converting the historic barn on his property into a winemaking facility designed specifically for the fermentation of small lots of fruit.

Today


While many wineries claim to be vineyard focused, as grape growers, this belief is a way of life for the Stuhlmullers. Committed to crafting superior wines from the finest blocks in the vineyard, the Stuhlmullers work side-by-side with their talented winemaking team. In 2019, Stuhlmuller Vineyards promoted Zac Childers from assistant winemaker to winemaker. Combining his formal training in viticulture and enology with his hands-on experience at such wineries as Torbreck, Alderbrook, Quivira, and J Vineyards, Zac is dedicated to capturing the rich, expressive character of the vineyard.  Today, the Stuhlmuller family enjoys a dual reputation as first-class grape growers and as proprietors of a respected, sustainable vineyard-driven winery.

Our Winemaking

Stuhlmuller wines are made with minimal intervention, including native yeast fermentations and judicious use of oak to showcase the fruit grown in the vineyard

Zac Childers
Winemaker

A native Virginian, Zac migrated to California in 2009 to pursue winemaking.  He first joined the Stuhlmuller team as a harvest intern during the 2011 vintage.  For several years Zac followed the winegrowing season across hemispheres, often referred to as “harvest hopping.”  He gained invaluable experience in Australia and New Zealand working with highly regarded wineries such as Torbreck and Amisfield.  Working internationally broadened his palate and exposed him to new varietals and a range of winemaking methods and philosophies.  After completing 8 harvests in 4 years, Zac decided to pursue a formal education in winemaking.  In 2014 he completed a Postgraduate degree in Viticulture and Enology at Lincoln University in Christchurch, NZ.  Upon his return to California, he re-joined the Stuhlmuller team as Assistant Winemaker. In November 2019, Zac was promoted to Winemaker.

Leo Hansen
Consulting Winemaker

As the son of a chef and hotelier, former sommelier, and with stints at Clos du Bois, Chateau Souverain, and Bowen Estate winery in Coonawarra, Australia, Leo has a lifetime of experience in the food and wine industry.  After having worked with Stuhlmuller’s excellent single vineyard fruit, Leo came to Stuhlmuller in 2002 and was appointed winemaker in 2004.  In November 2019, he passed the reigns to his protégé, Zac Childers.  Working with Zac and the Stuhlmuller team, Leo says: “I love the intimacy of working in a small winery.  You get to discover the charm and subtleties of each vineyard block. This is an amazing vineyard. The goal isn’t to speak for the vineyard, it’s to let the vineyard speak for itself.”

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