Originally part of the 2000-acre Carne Humana Spanish land grant, Wheeler Farms has a rich history that parallels that of the Valley in which it lies. First planted to grapes in 1865, it has been an agriculturally based land from the outset, where the Wheeler family grew apples, prunes, and walnuts as well as grape vines, and where they made wine and brandy in an on-site winery located at Zinfandel Station, next to the railroad tracks that parallel Highway 29. Visiting the site, you will quickly find that there is still a beautiful appreciation for all that is grown on the farm—and luckily we were able to enjoy some of it during our wine tasting pairing.
To tell you a bit about Vice Versa and its beginning is to tell the story of the owner and winemaker. Born and raised in Ottawa, Canada, Patrice Breton benefited from an upbringing saturated with art, science, history, and culture, all of which he loved and recognized in the early wine bottles he tasted. After starting a family and a business that went public, Patrice experienced working alongside the influential winemaker Paul Hobbs and in 2003, Vice Versa was born. The hands-on education and experience he got with Hobbs went beyond skills and methodology. Introductions were made, an organic network of friendships with the industry’s most respected players was formed, and knowledge is continuously traded, which enables Vice Versa to craft the kinds of wines that originally sparked this journey.
More recently, Vice Versa celebrated the opening of a by-appointment private tasting lounge at Wheeler Family Farms (lucky us!) where the stories of Patrice and his team are able to be told through the wines to come. We found that we were most drawn to the 2016 Beckstoffer Dr. Crane Cabernet. It is filled with black and red currants, violet, plum chutney, and bittersweet chocolate, supported by a firm foundation of seductive, dusty tannins and a mouth-coating texture. It was so good, we took a few bottles to go and enjoyed over dinner! Yum.
Visit our friends at Wheeler Farms
588 Zinfandel Lane
St Helena, CA