Known as “Poppo” to family and friends, Bill Van Pelt, who died in 2004, was born in Minnesota, reared in Alaska and Washington state, and educated in Mendocino County. Our father moved to Lake County in the 1970's and established a business supplying decorative rock from local quarries. In 1997, he purchased a 590-acre piece of property along Cache Creek in the eastern foothills of Clearlake Oaks in eastern Lake County.
On Poppo’s first visit to the property, he was greeted by a herd of Tule elk. This encounter quickly sparked a love affair. He would drive to the land nearly every day to spend time with his newfound friends. The elk fired his imagination about what could be done with the property. He wanted to enhance its natural beauty and preserve its wildlife habitat and decided that a vineyard would be the best way to achieve his goals.
Don Van Pelt, Bill’s youngest son, currently manages the vineyard. He can be found out at the property late at night and early in the morning to ensure the grapes and vines are well cared for and protected from the elements.