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Wine from the Sierra Nevada Foothills

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Our "Pressing Matters Newsletter" keeps you up-to-date with our latest releases, planned events, and some hopefully interesting information regarding Riffelhof VIneyards. We add a recipe or two, recommend food pairings and even some of the history of our family estate and newer endeavors.

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Grown, produced and bottled locally in the Central Sierra Nevada Foothills.

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Our estate vineyards are chiseled into the clay and decomposed granite in the foothills of the central Sierra Nevada foothills of California. In the higher elevations of the Squaw Valley-Miramonte AVA (viticultural area), we are blessed and cursed with varied soils containing clay, limestone, and decomposing granite. By tilling the green weeds annually we have naturally enriched the usable land into richer soil that yields healthy vines.

We have two small vineyards, both on S/SW facing hillsides, and a small plot on a hilltop. Even with their similarities, each vineyard adds its unique characteristics. And micro climates and soils vary from one end of a row to the other. This adds not only to the challenge in the timing to pick, but adds to the complexity of our wines.

The vines typically grown in our climate are the Rhone varietals, e.g. Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, Syrah, et al. We accepted the challenge and are pushing the envelop with varietals such as Symphony, Teroldego, Cabernet Franc, and others.

Our winery resides in our naturally temperature controlled cellars. Just outside, we crush and press the grapes, but fermentation, resting, filtering, bottling and labeling is done back inside.

We are very small compared to most wineries; but we are at home with our size. We were the first bonded winery in our region of the central Sierra Nevada foothills. Our wine production is the equivalent of about 4+ barrels per year of hand-crafted wines, or ~1200 bottles.

Events at our winery, including those following cellar tours, are informally held on our deck. From there one can wander about with glass in hand absorbing the surrounding vines, trees, ponds, gardens, and wildlife. We also enjoy sharing what we produce at Riffelhof besides the wine. This includes olive oil, pecans, various seasonal fruits, etc.

We look forward to your visit and to your sampling of our wines and other seasonal products. Best always to call us, 559.336.2335, because google maps and others misplace us on their maps.






Riffelhof Vineyards is rooted in a passion to plant and grow crops. Farming has been a family tradition that spans several hundreds of years.

Our lineage can be traced back to ancient homelands in Germany. Later the Riffels moved to Russia and the banks of the Volga River before arriving in the Central Valley of California.  Today descendants of the original Riffel family immigrants continue to farm the rich Central Valley soil.

Riffelhof Vineyards is located in Miramonte, where we first took up growing fruit and nut trees. Over the years we have developed two varieties of plums. One of these plums was the result of a graft we put on our future father-in-law’s wild plum tree.  The development of the Weber-Riffel plum played a crucial role in convincing Mary to become my bride. Curiously this unorthodox approach has become the theme of Riffelhof success.

In 1999, we began making wine. We produced our first wine from local wild elderberries and we were quickly hooked!

Next, we worked with plums. We built upon the experience gained from the elderberry wine and the result was a great success.

It was time to harness the black art of winemaking and turn to grapes.

Our first wine grape vineyard was planted in 2006.  We selected Zinfandel.  Today, these Zinfandel vines produce the largest share of our wine and has won back-to-back medals at the San Joaquin Valley Winegrower Association facing competition from heavyweights like wineries of Paso Robles and Sonoma, and Fresno State.

About that same time we talked with some local that had just started planting grapes, some with the goal of starting a winery. I got us together and formed what was then called the "Grape Growers Group". Since then, this group has evolved into the Viticulture Enology Association of Squaw Valley-Marimonte.

At Riffelhof Vineyards unorthodox is orthodox. We love growing uncommon varietals like Mourvedre, Pinot Noir and Teroldego. We think we do well and the judges seem to agree, handing us a Bronze Medal for the Pinot Noir and two Silver Medals for the Teroldego.

Come visit and taste the results of our hard work.




Awards are just one measure of our commitment to the craft. We are also committed to improving as community stewards because the integrity of our wine begins with the integrity in our interactions with people. Openness, honesty, and warmth are our weight-bearing cornerstones.

In fact, we strongly believe that our wine reflects that craftsmanship in the awards we’ve received. Our Zinfandel has won back-to-back medals at the San Joaquin Valley Winegrower Association (2011 & 2012) facing competition from heavyweights like Fresno State, Paso Robles and Sonoma wineries. The Pinot Noir has won a Bronze Medal  (SJVWA 2011) and we are especially proud of our two Silver Medals for Teroldego (SJVWA 2012 and 2013).

This is why we have decided to invest in local heroes like the all-volunteer Mountain Valley Fire, Company 65. It is why we commit to a 100% solar-powered operations footprint including: vineyard, winery and office space. And it is why we open our doors as free meeting spaces for local groups like the Four Seasons Garden Club of Squaw Valley.

We will continue to practice this commitment to integrity in both our craftsmanship and our community.

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The best possible way to contact Riffelhof Vineyards for wine orders, contacting the winemaker, or planning a visit is by telephone or email.  Also, when contacting us, please leave your contact information!!   Thank you.

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