Matt Oetinger, founder of Fernwood Cellars and second generation wine maker, was first introduced to the wine business through his father, Lew Oetinger, owner of Hummingbird Hill Vineyards. While Matt was attending the University of California at Davis, Lew was planting grapes and making wine in Shingle Springs, California, located in the El Dorado Appellation. Through regular visits to Shingle Springs, Matt became intimately involved in both grape growing and winemaking.

In 1995 he graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Biology and immediately went to work for the University’s Viticulture and Enology Department’s chair Dr. Jim Wolpert. After gaining extensive exposure to various grape varieties and trellis systems at a variety of vineyards all over the state and honing his skills as a vineyard manager at Clos LaChance Winery in the Santa Cruz Mountains, he started Fernwood Cellars.

Fernwood Cellars is located at the base of the Santa Cruz mountains on the historic Redwood Retreat Road. This land has been in Matt's family for over 6 generations.The surrounding area, it's landscapes and soil make it an excellent location for the winery.

Matt has been making his wines since the first harvest of 1995, and today Matt is still growing his winery, planting vineyards and improving the quality and timelessness of his craft. Matt also manages and maintains many local vineyards ranging from large estate to custom home vinyards. He is available for consultation and can help bring your custom home vineyard dreams to life.


Stemming from our company motto, “Quality is Timeless”, we have one overriding philosophy which permeates our entire operation. Every decision we make from barrel choice to pruning regime to equipment purchasing is driven by the question, “What will make the absolute best wine?” Once that’s answered the rest takes care of itself.

We only make wine from grapes we grow. This may seem like a commonsensical thing to say, but it places Fernwood Cellars in roughly 7% of this industry. The vast majority of wineries purchase fruit from an independent grower, who typically is being paid by the ton, therefore perhaps not completely oriented to what growing system will make the best wine, regardless of tonnage. Another basic philosophy we have is that we do not us e oak “alternatives”. Tea-bags, wood chips, 2x4s, whatever you want to talk about, we simply buy the best new oak barrels we can get our hands on in an effort to, vintage after vintage, make reliably consistent fine wines. This isn’t the cheapest route, but in our opinion it is the only route that makes sense for a dependable brand for decades.

So regardless of what Fernwood wine you are consuming, you can rest assured that you are enjoying a literally hand-crafted winegrown by, produced by and bottled by the finest standards.