EVERY BOTTLE HAS A STORY. THIS IS OURS.
The wonderful truth about drinking wine is that every bottle has a story. Every winemaker pours a little bit of their soul into a very handcrafted product. From the soil, vineyard, grapes, and actual wine making process; each component contributes to shape the story of that wine. But with any exquisite product and wine, the storytelling experience starts with heritage that is the heart of the product. The heart of Fernwood Cellars and its origins start on the historic Redwood Retreat Road. This scenic, humble road takes its name from “Redwood Retreat,” a 1800's metaphysical resort , family ranch and now home of Fernwood Cellars. Six generations of our family have cared for and improved Redwood Retreat. For us the estate is a sacred place that has heavily shaped what the Fernwood Cellars brand has become.
We highly encourage you to get out, drive down Redwood Retreat Road and visit the winery to learn first hand why this location is truly one of the most unique in California.
REDWOOD RETREAT HISTORIC TIMELINE
1863: CHARLES AND ANNIS SANDERS (1st generation) Natives of Nova Scotia , left the California Gold Rush and homesteaded, fenced the land, and built a cabin for the family.
1891: Charles built a 20 guest room Victorian hotel called “Redwood Retreat”. Grounds included lawn tennis courts, bocce ball, and the first outdoor swimming pool in Santa Clara County (2nd in CA). Vineyards, apple and prune orchards, and a large row crop vegetable garden supplied the family and hotel guests. The Gilroy Gazette said of the resort, “one of the best places for rest and meditation in the state.”
1908: the hotel burned down on July 4th. It was immediately replaced with a large, lodge-style building and 10 or so cabins along the creek. The 30-40 guests from the cabins and tents would come to the lodge for meals and playing card games at night by the fire.
1910-1929: ANNIS “GYPSY” SANDERS (2nd generation), the youngest child and her brothers and their families operated the resort until the Depression forced them to close it and they moved off the land. “Gypsy” retained ownership but closed the lodge and cabins.
1931-1936: CHARLES POND (3rd generation), only child of Gypsy, married Elsie Malek and moved to Redwood Retreat, living in 2 separate cabins, while Charles recuperated from tuberculosis. In 1936 they moved back to San Jose and spent weekends and vacationed at Redwood Retreat in the homestead cabin, while renting the lodge. The buildings fell into disrepair and in the 1960's, trespassing “partyers” burned down the remaining 5 cabins in The Grove.
1991: LINDA POND-OETINGER (4th generation), only child of Charles and Elsie, built a 3-generation home with Elsie, after Charles' passing, and they moved to Redwood Retreat. Linda restored the old lodge home and two remaining cabins near the lodge and the Sanders' homestead family home. Linda is credited with planting the vineyards and establishing a water system.
1999: Matt Oetinger (5th generation), only child of Linda Pond and Lew Oetinger, established Fernwood Cellars and built the winery on Redwood Retreat land and became the 5th generation of this pioneering family to work and improve the land through a successful agri-business. After graduating from U.C. Davis with a major in Biology, Matt became vineyard manager at Clos LaChance Winery in the Santa Cruz Mountains. He would continue to pursue his love for wine making and eventually dedicate 100% of his time and passion towards the evolution of Fernwood Cellars.
2015: Fernwood Cellars begins plans to enhance the wine tasting experience and environment for guests at the winery at Redwood Retreat.
Established – 1891
Established – 1999