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Meet Carrie Peltzer of Peltzer Family Cellars

Today we’d like to introduce you to Carrie Peltzer.

Alright, so thank you so much for sharing your story and insight with our readers. To kick things off, can you tell us a bit about how you got started?
I was a young designer working for a firm in OC that led to the ‘big picture’ of my story. After working for ten years at this interior design firm, I had met my future husband and decided it was time to venture on my own. When our first child was born, I started following my passion of creating and merchandising fun and unique spaces for residential and commercial clients.

In the meantime, my husband Charlie and I had begun creating his dream of farming and agri-tainment. His farming family history dates back to the early 1900s and at that time, their business was live Christmas Tree farms. Peltzer Pines had been flourishing since the 1960’s. Our creative vision started in Orange at a Tree Farm where we opened our first pumpkin farm in 1996. The demographic taught us quickly that annual family traditions and creative, fun attractions would bring the masses back each year. Thus, the Peltzer Pumpkin Farm began! Fast forward ten years, two wonderful boys, a successful design business, and the largest vision we could imagine… to Temecula Wine Country. We purchased an abandoned Christmas Tree Farm that had nothing but diseased trees surrounding 25 acres of raw land (BUT of course I thought it was meant to be). Charlie and I both had a vision: we would plant Christmas Trees and grow our pumpkin farm business right where we could live and work on the same piece of land. Quickly, we grew our business, introducing live decor pumpkins, a train, pony rides, petting farm, pig races and gem panning each October.

In the meantime, we planted grapes on the property, selling them to a local winery each year. We met so many great people and winery owners that helped us put together the ultimate ‘big picture’: Let’s build a winery! I was dying to design a building which incorporated all the natural elements, local repurposed materials, and creative spaces. We were going to be different than any others out in the valley. Our dream came true after six grueling years of entitlements and the build. All the while, I continued to design for clients, trying to keep our dream alive. Our boys were there every step of the way, working on the farm, driving tractors and equipment, harvesting grapes and keeping us grounded.

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Oh my! Many struggles along the way, but the biggest one was money! With my design business and our seasonal farm business, it didn’t take long to realize we needed some help to get us where we needed to be. My parents quickly came to the rescue to help facilitate our vision. Our friends were always willing and eager to help in any capacity we needed. The entitlements were agonizing and expensive. It was unlike anything we had ever done before, therefore difficult to navigate. BUT once we got approved, we were well on our way. We convinced a local bank to take a chance on our small family farm/winery endeavors and we were off and running! Charlie and I are ‘pickers’. We had been collecting what he calls ‘rusty gold’ for ten plus years and we were pumped to use it in all the details – at our farm & winery, you’ll find repurposed… well, everything. We have a Silo Bar we built out of a grain silo, a big caboose we plan to turn into an amazing space in the future, vintage trucks and tractors, you name it.

As you know, we’re big fans of Peltzer Family Cellars. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about the brand?
After opening the winery in 2016, we were able to create a huge wood-sided barn as a visually stimulating place for visitors to enjoy a glass or perhaps bottle of wine. We quickly became the winery with a ‘cool vibe’ and a non-pretentious approach to winemaking and drinking. Visitors from San Diego, Orange, and Los Angeles Counties were flocking to wine country and we were suddenly on the map. Our front patio was quickly known for ‘Front Porch Fridays’, a place to come with your friends and enjoy a glass while listening to live music. Our first wine that we all fell in love with was the Barbera. (It has the cutest pig butt on the label, in fact each of our labels has an illustration of something you can find around the farm). We grow Barbara, Sangiovese and Petite Sirah on the property. We source other local grapes for blends and wines we stand behind for extremely great quality, taste and smell. Our brand is now followed by thousands of local and non-local visitors on social media. We take pride in our work family and the story they tell every new visitor that walks through the huge metal door that Charlie and his buddy built.

They talk about the tractor that sits in the center of the winery which was purchased by Charlie’s great grandpa in 1926 for farming, they share our farming roots and how one of our farms was purchased by Walt Disney himself to build Disneyland upon, etc. Everywhere you look, the walls tell a story. The vibe is catchy. If our visitors have enough time set aside, they can walk the property and enjoy the tractors on display, our silo bar, wedding garden, and numerous vintage trucks and equipment, creating perfect backdrops for photos and memories. In the Fall, the winery and farm run contiguous, which allows for even more family traditions and family fun. In the winter, we enjoy Christmas on the Farm, which includes many festivities like the lighting of the 30′ live Christmas Tree, ice skating, maker’s markets, and more! After four years of operation at Peltzer Family Cellars (and 24 at Peltzer Pumpkin Farm), we’ve successfully created a space in town for families and friends to visit time and time again for various festivals, events, weddings, and everyday sippin’… our goal is to maintain our welcoming, non-pretentious, creative atmosphere so that memories and traditions are shared between our family and our guests for years and years to come! Although our journey has been years in the making, this is still just the beginning…

Can you tell us more about what you were like growing up?
Both my parents worked full-time growing up so I was taught to work hard to achieve goals and create a future. I did good in school and went on to finish college. I loved graphic design and found my creativity come out in learning how to make logos and cards. I soon learned that advertising, marketing and graphic design all go hand in hand. Interiors were never really ‘my thing.’

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Image Credits
Paige Creative Eryn Tyler

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