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Sipping with Dan Panella, Oak Farm Vineyards, Lodi

The Panella family has been rooted in the agricultural industry in Lodi, California, since 1936, first as owners of a trucking business and later as grape growers. In 2004, the family purchased historic Oak Farm. Its original owner was Baltimore native, William DeVries, who came to California to seek his fortune during the 1849 gold rush. While Devries did not find his pan of gold, he did make a small fortune as a merchant and bought the property in 1860. His large white colonial house remains on the 70-acre estate, as are the majestic oak trees that inspired the farm’s name.

The Panellas spent years renovating the property. Third generation farmer, Dan Panella, oversaw the replanting of 60 acres of vineyards in 2012, which grow 14 different grapes. Panella said the focus is on producing estate-grown wines from Mediterranean, American and Bordelaise varietals. “The Mediterranean climate and sandy loam soils provide perfect growing conditions for making our wines,” he noted.

Matriarch Dorothy Panella designed the spacious modern tasting room opened in 2014.  Dan’s wife, Heather, a landscape artist, oversees the grounds. Consulting winemaker, Chad Joseph, a specialist in artisanal grape growing, works with Dan to craft the wines.

What we tasted:

Oak Farm Vineyards 2017 Sauvignon Blanc. While the vintner used a grape clone derive from a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, the growing conditions in flat, sandy loamy soil brought out more tropical guava and citrus than kiwi and grassiness. This wine was refreshing without the herbal tang some Sauvignon Blanc wines have. $19

Oak Farm Vineyards 2017 Zinfandel. This elegant, earthy wine had some nice grip and wasn’t overly jammy. A small amount of Petite Sirah added to the soft finish. $25

Oak Farm Vineyards Tievoli 2017.  Zinfandel, Primitivo, Barbera and Petit Sirah augment layers of flavor and complexity that we enjoyed. This is not an everyday ho- hum red blend. Panella noted the wine’s unusual name, pronounced T-VOHLI, spelled backward reads “I Love It.” We loved this wine, too! $22


Here from Dan Panella, third generation farmer, for Oak Farm Vineyards on The Connected Table SIPS.

Dan Panella




The Connected Table SIPS are short, 6-8 minute podcasts on iHeart, iTunes and other major podcast platforms hosted by Melanie and David. Each custom podcast spotlights a brand, region or individual with engaging storytelling. Let us share your story. Contact for details.

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Bob Blue, Chief Storyteller for 1000 Stories

Bob Blue, Winemaker and Chief Storyteller for 1000 Stories in Mendocino, CA, takes a deliberate small-batch approach to winemaking. 1000 Stories utilizes old bourbon barrels for aging, which Bob says he began using in the 1980s when French and American oak barrels were hard to come by.

Bob Blue with Melanie


What we tasted:

1000 Stories Zinfandel 2016 Batch 044Attractive flavors of red licorice and brown spice usher into this blend courtesy of Paso Robles vineyards. Hedonistic, juicy Zinfandel from Lodi brings round tannins and opulent notes of dark fruit, while a touch of soulful Lake County Petite Sirah completes the wine, contributing depth of color and profound suggestions of black pepper. SRP: $18.99



This wine is 1000 Stories first-ever release of Carignan as a single varietal. Look for notes of brilliantly racy red and black fruits set to a rich backdrop of toast, herbs and cocoa. SRP: $18.99


In this edition of The Connected Table Sips! Bob Blue explains how the char of bourbon barrels adds distinct and nuanced complexity to wine and specifically his 1000 Stories Bourbon Barrel-Aged Zinfandel and Bourbon Barrel-Aged Carignan.  

Instagram: 1000_stories_wines


1000 Stories Inspires

1000 Stories  works with the Wildlife Conservation Society  to develop programs to reintroduce bison into healthy environments where they may thrive and contribute to the ecosystems once again.

Thanks to strong conservation efforts started in the early 1900s by the American Bison Society (led by pioneering conservationist Theodore Roosevelt), the bison population has grown to about 450,000, yet fewer than 20,000 range freely. Realizing the bison population was still at risk, Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) re-launched the American Bison Society in 2005. Wildlife Conservation Society has built a network of experts and strong relationships with ranchers and Native American tribes in an effort to restore natural habitats for the bison population. Info: