Shandel's Oppenlander Vineyard

Pinot Noir

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The unique climate of Comptche, California produces some of Mendocino County's finest Pinot Noir. Fifth generation family owners Bill and Norman Shandel produce sustained yield timber, world class blackberry jam and Pinot Noir from the Oppenlander Vineyard with Dijon clones planted in the natural opening homesteaded in the 1860s. Bill and family still live in the original log home. Known as the Oppenlander Ranch for nearly a century, the Shandel Ranch for over a decade and Surprise Valley Ranch, Inc. since 1963.

The inspiration for Shandel's Oppenlander Vineyards was a single aged grapevine, located in what the Shandel Oppenlander family calls Vineyard Knoll, which survived more than 100 years. 

In 1985 Bill and Norman planted a test plot of grapes to see what would grow well.  In 1997 Dijon Pinot Noir clones were planted and today 20 acres of Surprise Valley ranchlands are in grapes.  

The year 2002 saw the first release of the wine that is already an award winner, garnering the following awards: 

  • 2004 El Dorado County Fair - Double Gold
  • 2004 San Francisco International Wine Competition - Bronze
  • 2004 Critics Challenge International Wine Competition - Critics Gold
  • 2004 Long Beach Grand Cru Wine Competition - Bronze
  • 2004 Indy International Wine Competition - Gold
  • 2004 Mendocino Wine Competition - Double Gold
  • 2004 American Wine Society - Gold

This vintage is described as very dark for a Pinot, and aged in French oak, is highly extracted, concentrated and very ripe with cherry and dark fruit flavors.  This vintage wine was produced at Salerno Family Winery in Healdsburg, California by John Pepe.  This is a complex wine, well balanced wine with a silky rich on the palate flavor, with deep rich flavors of black cherry and blackberry - 221 cases produced

Wine of this fine quality is uncommon from young vine and only occurs with perfect conditions of soil and a cool climate.  Click here for other awards. 

John Pepe is our wine maker and Phillips Hill Winery in Philo has used Oppenlander Vineyard grapes. These are a couple of other sites to ponder - The Pinot File and Indie Wine Makers   

Our 2006 has been a very good year for us.  Awards include:

2008 West Coast Wine Competition
Best of class over $30
2008 International Eastern Wine Competition
2008 North of the Gate Wine Competition
2008 Finger Lakes Wine Competition
2008 El Dorado County Fair Wine Competition
2008 San Francisco Intl. Wine Competition
2008 California State Fair Wine Competition
2008 Indy Intl. Wine Competition
2008 Long Beach Grand Cru Wine Competition
2008 Mendocino County Fair Wine Competition
2008 Pacific Rim Intl. Wine Competition
2008 Riverside International Wine Competition
2008 Los Angeles Intl. Wine Competition
2008 Orange County Wine Society Wine Competition

We produced over 400 cases.  This deep red wine has a lush concentrated entry, with full broad favors of ripe strawberry/raspberry fruit, structured acidity, round and mouth filling.  It has tangy cranberry tailings leading to a long warm finish that tapers very slowly. 

To order by phone call 707-937-5400.  We take Visa and Mastercard and will ship to any location.  If you would prefer to fax this information, please print this form and fax it to 707.937.3726.  If you have any questions, please call Wanda at 707.937-5400 or email


Surprise Valley Ranch, Inc.
P.O. Box 125
Comptche, CA 95427
Phone - 707.937.5400