Steve Schafer started San Joaquin Wine Co. in 2005 as the fulfillment of a personal passion. Steve, being in a family farming business along with his father “Corky” and brother Mike, has grown primarily wine and raisin grapes along with almonds for over 30 years in Madera, California. In the business, Steve manages the grape acreage, while Mike manages the almond acreage and dad looks over his sons to keep them out of trouble. They farm 12 wine varieties including: Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Merlot, Syrah and Grenache.
Along with farming, Steve has been heavily involved in the California Assoc. of Wine Grape Growers (CAWG), an organization that supports and advocates for California wine grape issues. Through this involvement, including being past chairman, Steve’s interest in wines increased as he formed relationships with many leaders in the industry. During Steve’s tenure as Chairman of CAWG, one of the concepts he promoted was that growers would never receive the full value of the grapes they produced until they actually produced the wine that was the true end product. He believes that in order to be the best wine grape grower possible, you have to complete the circle and also become a vintner. Steve is also an advocate of sustainable winegrowing practices which was introduced by CAWG and the Wine Institute in 2001. Sustainable farming is a commitment to better stewardship of the vineyards, as well as the community at large. Steve remains a member on the board of the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance (CSWA).