About Stevenot Winery

Wine, gold, history, and heritage all contribute to the rich and colorful tradition embodied by Stevenot Winery. Situated in downtown Murphys and Vallecito, nestled in the heart of Calaveras County’s Sierra Foothills, Stevenot’s origins trace back long before their inaugural wine release in 1978.

The first Stevenot Family to arrive in the area during the great Gold Rush of the mid-1800s. It was during this era that vineyards started emerging across the region, spurred by miners from France, Germany, and Italy, who generated an unprecedented demand for wine. At its peak, the Sierra Foothills boasted vineyard acreage that rivaled the combined areas of Napa and Sonoma, hosting over 100 established wineries.

Despite the industry’s eventual decline due to the advent of prohibition, it didn’t take long before Barden Stevenot, a fifth-generation member of the Stevenot family in Calaveras County, resumed where his family had left off. He established the winery in the late 1970s, earning recognition as one of the pioneers of the revival of wine production in the Sierra Foothills. Stevenot Winery swiftly cemented its reputation for crafting world-class wines and for its innovative, award-winning style.

Stevenot Winery also delves into Calaveras County’s history. The Tasting Room in downtown Murphys once housed the Rufe and Keilber Meat Market, constructed in 1893. Adjacent to the Tasting Room stands the Matterson house, dating back to the 1860s. Although damaged, it survived the 1893 explosion of the nearby Manuel and Garland Store warehouse, which devastated much of the town center. The accident occurred when a clerk left a candle burning in the warehouse, igniting black powder stored nearby.

New Generation

Around the time Barden Stevenot was establishing his winery, the Oliveto family was setting up a distribution business in Jackson. This enterprise, now overseen by brothers Jon and David Oliveto, had its roots in their father Ross Oliveto’s milk distribution business from the late 1960s, where Jon and David began working at a young age. By 1979, the family shifted from milk to distributing beer and soft drinks, catering to Calaveras, Amador, and Tuolumne counties. They expanded into wine distribution in the early 1980s, initially distributing Stevenot wines, notably their best-selling White Zinfandel at the time. In the early 1990s, Oliveto Distributing earned the prestigious Miller Masters award, recognizing them among the top seven distributors nationwide. Additionally, they received the High Life Achievement from Miller Brewing Company in both 2002 and 2003, an honor reserved for the top 40 distributors from a pool of 450 companies.

On February 10, 2010, Oliveto Distributing, Inc. took ownership of Stevenot Wines, marking a significant acquisition. Presently, they manage the Stevenot Tasting Rooms located on Murphys’ Main Street and at the Vallecito winery. This move has positioned Jon and David Oliveto as owners of both the esteemed distribution company, rooted in Vallecito, and the reputable Stevenot Wines.

Into the 21st Century

In recent developments, Stevenot Winery has extended its presence beyond the Main Street tasting room to the winery in Vallecito. Originating from John Batten’s establishment in 1852, the winery grounds have evolved to accommodate local crushing and bottling facilities, alongside the cultivation of diverse grape varietals across 4 acres. These varietals include Barbera, Chenin Blanc, Malvasia Bianca, and Merlot, enabling the production of our own Estate wines.

Upon entering through the iron gates within the dry stone wall, past the pond, heritage oaks, and landscaped meadow, the focal point becomes the historical Batten House. The Oliveto Family has meticulously overseen the extensive restoration of this mid-19th century landmark. Ample shaded outdoor spaces have been thoughtfully designed, inviting guests to savor glasses of Stevenot wines in the serene surroundings.

The Stevenot Winery label is entrenched in familial involvement. David Oliveto, in conjunction with his brother and longtime business partner, Jon, witnessed Jon’s retirement in early 2023 after 50 years. While Jon remains an active presence within the Oliveto Distributing Business and Stevenot Winery as the Production Manager, collaborating with Winemaker Nancy Steel, his retirement prompted an opportunity for David and Lorraine to acquire his share of the business. Simultaneously, they made the decision to take up residence in the venerable farmhouse nestled on the winery grounds.

David Oliveto assumes multiple pivotal roles within the organization, serving as the President, Operations Manager, and Office Manager for both Stevenot Winery and Oliveto Distributing. The picturesque ambiance of the winery’s grounds and gardens, undoubtedly catching your eye, owes its allure to the green thumb and creative touch of Lorraine Oliveto, David’s wife. Stepping into the family legacy, Elizabeth, David and Lorraine’s daughter, has assumed the mantle of overseeing the winery’s business operations, managing winery memberships, and managing our Main Street tasting room. Her adeptness brings a strategic advantage, allowing David to concentrate on the intricacies of winery operations, production, and the array of brands represented under the Oliveto Distributing Business.

“We are honored to have the opportunity to carry on Barden Stevenot’s tradition,” said David. “Stevenot has always represented quality wines and garnered great respect in the community.”

“It’s all about maintaining that quality,” added Jon. “With our lifelong experience in the distribution business, we are committed to continuing the focus on winemaking.”

With nearly 50 years of industry experience in serving the region, the Oliveto family possesses extensive knowledge of both the business and the local community.