Made in Kern County: Dorner Family Vineyard

Wine business in Tehachapi booming
Posted at 2:44 PM, Jul 23, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-23 17:44:28-04

It’s miles from Napa Valley far from the slopes of Sonoma or the hills of Paso Robles.

Vineyards growing in an unlikely wine region, but one that is emerging as the future of the wine industry in California.

It’s here where one family from Los Angles found their passion and their dreams more than 30-years ago just above the off the foothills near Tehachapi where the Dorner family, and the vines they are growing are paving the way for then future of Tehachapi. 

Just off Banducci road, 15-minutes from town you’ll find Dorner Family Vineyard—The place where Michael and Michelle Dorner made a home in the 1980’s, to escape the fast pace of LA. 

”It’s so peaceful, we moved up here when our kids were little to get them out of the LA area,” Dorner said. I worked Palmdale/Lancaster, gangs down there,” he said. 

Michael Dorner, a retired LA County Sheriff’s deputy purchased a 20-acre property originally for a life-style change, but soon realized it was perfect for wine. 

”The rock formations are excellent, and our weather is what’s outstanding we get the warm days, but yet we get the cool nights, and the grapevines needs that,” Dorner described as he walked the his vineyard. 

With the encouragement of Bob and Patty Souza, of Souza Family Vineyards just down the road, Dorner planted row after row of vines. It was 7-years ago Dorner planted Resiling and zinfandel, now able to produce hundreds of bottles of wine every year.  

For the past several months Dorner has also been building a Tuscan-style tasting room, that when completed in February will feature a state of the art tasting room, and banquet room upstairs, along with a 3-thousand square foot production facility downstairs. 

Next year Dorner will be the first and only commercial or estate winery in Tehachapi. To be classified as an estate winery—a winemaker must grow, and make the wine on the same property. 

But it’s not just wine at Dorner Family Vineyard. 

The beautiful mountain location serving as a backdrop for weddings, and family gathers—available for rent between May and October. The Dorner’s offering two options for weddings, under an oak tree among the vineyards, or a rustic barn—built with reclaimed wood from the barn of an early settler to Tehachapi. 

The location so popular, the Dorner’s are booked every weekend, for a year-and a half. “Were hoping it’s going to be the premiere winery up here for the time being.”

The tranquil retreat, that was once only a private escape for the Dorner’s turing into a destination place for those looking to do the same. 

Discovering a love for the land with rich history, and remarkable potential—connecting the world with the beauty of Tehachapi, and the amazing wine—made right here, in Kern County.