Peltier proprietor Rod Schatz, standing in the vineyard holding a glass of red wine

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 an empty water bottle, your wife's nail file and some determination ensure that no one goes thirsty!

man cutting a water bottle and a woman sits beside him with a bottle of wine on a table
Woman smiling and swirling a glass of red wine in vineyard, holding a bottle

Susana Rodriguez Vasquez | HEAD WINEMAKER

Susana Rodriguez Vasquez was born and raise in the town of Cochabamba, located in the valley region of Bolivia. The daughter of professors, she was raised in the countryside where her love of agriculture was sparked. This lead her to Universidad Mayor de San Simon to receive her B.S. in Agriculture.

Susy made her way to the US on an internship at Cal Poly in organic crops, she then later became a liaison between the winemakers and vineyards for Gallo and soon after discovered her passion for winemaking. After receiving her Winemaker Certificate from UC Davis Viticulture Department, Susy has spent the last 10 years making her mark as an exceptional winemaker, both at Gallo and Constellation. In 2016 she joined Peltier Winery were she has quickly become a bright and shining star. Susy has an impeccable palate for choosing the right grapes and revels each step of the way in the winemaking process, from crush to glass. Her love for what she does creates a passion that is infectious, making everyone strive to be better.

In her free time, Susy enjoys running, specially during harvest! But more importantly than that she loves RV’ing near the beach with her husband David and two children Faviola and Lukas.