Hailing from deeply agricultural backgrounds in the Midwest, couple Heather 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, Heather and Jason 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 Heather and Jason — 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, Heather and Jason quickly realized that the uniqueness of the area’s offerings afforded an even greater opportunity.
Heather and Jason 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.
Heather and Jason have high expectations for Sweet Oaks Wine and are preparing to take wine country by storm, beginning with one very special private introduction – their wedding day.
THE WINEMAKERS ART
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 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 Cuvée) for the estate’s inaugural vintage.