Hailing from deeply agricultural backgrounds in the Midwest, soon-to-be married couple Heather Petersen and Jason Altepeter, have planted their roots in Temecula, California –– the heart of Southern California’s sprawling wine country.
Drawn to the alluring beauty of Temecula Valley’s rolling hills and endless stretches of lush vineyard properties, Petersen and Altepeter settled in this Southern California wine town to escape the hustle and bustle of city life and cultivate meaningful work rooted in culture and rustic elegance.
The work began with Petersen and Altepeter — both entrepreneurs familiar with building successful companies from the ground up — growing grapes as a passion project. With a shared appreciation for fine wines and unique vintages, the couple’s endeavors initially allowed them to genuinely immerse themselves in Temecula’s deep-seated wine culture.
However, Petersen and Altepeter quickly realized that the uniqueness of the area’s offerings afforded an even greater opportunity.
Petersen and Altepeter founded Sweet Oaks Wine in 2015 after purchasing Sweet Oaks Ranch – a 28-acre equestrian estate boasting expansive natural beauty. Sweet Oaks Wine was founded alongside its sister label, Sol de Luz Vineyards in nearby De Luz, California.
The Sweet Oaks vineyards, located in the heart of Temecula Valley Wine Country, boast a remarkable growing climate and rich soil –– characteristics wine growers recognize as essential to yielding viable vines. These vines—in turn—produce grapes that, in the right winemaker’s hands become exquisite wines.
Petersen and Altepeter have high expectations for Sweet Oaks Wine and are preparing to take wine country by storm, beginning with one very special private introduction this summer –– their wedding day.
Many people express a passion for wine, but Heather Petersen and Jason Altepeter turned their passion into a reality with wines that reflect their love for the craft and the city they call home. Putting down roots in Temecula led the pair to using grapes grown exclusively in this renowned viticultural area.
For many, art is merely a piece of work that can be viewed and touched. However, for artisan and winemaker, Mark Horvath, wine, his art of choice, is something that should be tasted, consumed and experienced.
Horvath began his career as a cellar worker at Carmenet Winery in Sonoma, California. A formative experience where he realized his passion for wine, it was at Carmenet where Horvath became fascinated with the art and science of winemaking. This fascination evolved into hard skills that afforded him opportunities to craft wines appreciated by wine connoisseurs and hobbyists alike. His journey includes experiences at top wineries such as Babcock Winery in Santa Ynez Valley.
Years later, Horvath co-founded Kenneth-Crawford Wines with colleague Kenneth Gummere. The duo produced many of the region’s finest and most sought-after pinot noirs, syrahs and grenaches. After a successful run, Horvath, a lifelong student to his art, took over the winemaking responsibilities at Tres Hermanas Winery in Santa Maria in pursuit of broader winemaking knowledge and expertise.
Horvath partnered with Heather Petersen and Jason Altepeter in 2016 to put his experience building successful wines to work for the Sweet Oaks and Sol de Luz labels. Working closely with the couple, Horvath is currently bottling Sweet Oaks Wine’s first five varietals (Chardonnay, Zinfandel, Viognier, Malbec, and a Rhône Blend) for the estate’s inaugural vintage.