Keplinger Wines was founded by husband and wife Helen Keplinger and DJ Warner. Let’s just say it: You’ll be hard-pressed to find a kinder and more compassionate wine couple on the North Coast. And Helen’s got several 100-point wines under helt belt, cementing her rockstar status among California’s winemakers.
Helen grew up in Ohio in a family that centered most everything around food, wine, the arts, nature and travel. After graduating from Smith College, she considered a career in medicine. She took a year off and moved to Thailand – teaching English to children in a small town well north of Bangkok. Then she discovered that UC Davis had a graduate program in Enology, and instead followed her passion for wine to California.
After completing the Master’s Program, she apprenticed in Australia and at Paradigm Winery and Fiddlehead Cellars. She was the winemaker for Cellers Melis in Spain’s Priorat for three years, and then for Kenzo Estate, Sarocka, Fort Ross, Grace Family and Arrow & Branch. While her work with many great mentors – Heidi Peterson Barrett, Kathy Joseph, Claude Gros, David Abreu, Michel Rolland – in a number of different regions from Santa Barbara to Spain to Napa Valley inform her vineyard selection, practices, and winemaking, she has cultivated a style all her own.
In 2006, she and DJ founded her own small production of single-vineyard Rhone varietal wines, Keplinger Wines with merely 250 cases of Grenache and Syrah. Helen was first recognized as a winemaker to watch by the Wine Spectator in 2011. She was named 2012 Winemaker of the Year by Food & Wine Magazine, and was honored with the cover and feature article of the June 15th 2014 Wine Spectator. We are beyond thrilled to include Helen and DJ’s wines in our portfolio.