IT STARTS IN THE VINEYARD
From our origins to the quality of our wine, farming is our foundation and this is the story of how we grew into a winery.
Third generation Lodi grower, Rodney Schatz always had an instinct for farming and an entrepreneurial spirit. From a young age, it was Rodney’s dream to own vineyards and farm them his own way.
The day came in 1985. Shortly after graduating from Cal Poly SLO and marrying his wife and co-proprietor, Gayla, the pair bought their first piece of land : 40 acres of Old Vine Zinfandel in the heart of the Lodi Appellation, where the winery sits today.
Rod spent the next 15 years growing his custom harvest business. He bought more vineyards and mechanical harvesters, managed vineyard crews and slept most harvest nights in the back of his pickup. All the while, Rod was gaining a reputation for growing high quality grapes.
When a year of surplus left grapes unsold at a time when the boutique winery market was growing in Lodi, Rod & Gayla saw an opportunity. In 2001, they built a custom crush facility where their grapes could be processed and sold as bulk wine. This ensured that fruit would never be left hanging and the quality maintained in the vineyard would carry through to the bulk wine.
A particularly good Petite Sirah was produced in 2005 and inspired the notion that they could produce wine under their own label. That Peltier Petite Sirah won Best of Class and Best of Region from the California State Fair and we’ve been making exceptional wines ever since and farming over 1,000 acres of Estate Grown grapes in the Lodi Appellation, producing multiple brands and maintaining the quality Peltier is known for.
Rodney and Gayla Schatz | PROPRIETORS
Two decades after the winery was constructed, Peltier is still owned and operated by Rod & Gayla Schatz, Rod driving the farming and bulk wine side of the business and Gayla managing the financials.
The pair have always been forward thinking, advocates for California growers and dedicated to helping others. Peltier was one of the first in the area to certify 100% of their vineyards sustainable by the Lodi Rules program and one of the first in the state to install a worm farm to treat the winery's process water. As Chairman of the California Association of Winegrape Growers and President of the Lodi Winegrape Commission, Rod has promoted the grape growing industry both locally and across the country. The success and improvement of California agriculture will forever be a driving force in Rodney’s life. Gayla has dedicated much of her life to the community as a member and past president of Children's Home of Stockton and an active volunteer for the American Cancer Society. Her warmth and hospitality are the heart of the winery.
When they get the chance, Rod & Gayla love to skip town and explore the world, one bottle of wine at a time, no glass required. Because sometimes, you're on a train in Singapore with a bottle of wine and no cup. But with an empty water bottle, a nail file and some determination, no one goes thirsty!
Gianni Abate | HEAD WINEMAKER
Gianni grew up on his family's asparagus farm in California’s Central Valley. He attended the University of the Pacific with aspirations of becoming a pharmacist. After working as a lab technician without a clear career path, Gianni found himself working in the laboratories of several San Joaquin County wineries. It was in these wine labs that Gianni was exposed to the joys of wine making. This experience sparked his ambition to make world-class wines for the past 25 years.
Gianni discovered his true passion for winemaking while working with Robert Mondavi, sourcing grapes from Santa Lucia Highlands through Santa Maria. In 2005, Gianni decided to move to Morgan Winery to focus exclusively on Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from the Santa Lucia Highlands appellation. After harnessing his craft with Morgan, he was thrilled with the opportunity to become the head winemaker at the iconic Chalone Vineyards.
Gianni returned to the central valley and soon began working at Peltier in 2022, where his philosophy that 'great winemaking begins in the vineyard' is shared.