Founder & Vintner
Fred Schweiger was born and raised in San Francisco, California. Fred couldn't wait for summertime where his grandparents had 160 acres planted to grapevines in the rugged Santa Cruz mountains. His summers were spent helping care for vines on steep mountainsides watering each plant with five gallon buckets. At home, he lived on the last one acre farm on Bernal Heights in the middle of San Francisco. Can you imagine in 1942 to 1954 - 100 chickens, two cows and two pigs?
In the summers of 1958 and 1959, Fred's maternal grandfather offered any of the grandchildren to take care of the farm in the heart of Los Altos. Fred and one other cousin volunteered their entire summer. Fred always had a passion for hard work and he learned a lot about farming from his Grandfather.
In 1958, an extended family disagreement left Fred's parents without mountain property. In the fall of 1959, Fred researched a property for sale on Spring Mountain. His Mom and Dad loved the land and purchased the property. This is where the Spring Mountain chapter of Fred's book begins.
Fred graduated from Lowell High School and went on to major in Forestry at San Francisco City College. As a declared Forestry major, he worked five summers in Santa Cruz, Sonoma, Napa and Lake Counties. Halfway through his major, he decided he loved building and changed his major to building and construction technology with continued education in engineering. Fred was ready to go to work in 1966 and construction was in a major slump. He successfully acquired an engineering position with Pacific Bell and states that it was a "great job!"
He left in 1972 to establish Schweiger Construction, Inc. In 1979 interest rates were 21% - all construction came to a stop. With the slow down came an opportunity of a long-held dream to clear and develop the family owned Spring Mountain property into vineyard.
During the year and a half of careful and systematic clearing of the heavily forested, rolling hill parcel, Schweiger studied viticulture at the University of California, Davis and Santa Rosa Junior College. Additionally, he gained invaluable knowledge from recognized local vintners including Herman Hummel, Joe Cafaro and Laurie Wood.
Schweiger did not have a large fortune to invest in vineyard development and, in fact, his loan application was rejected twice. However, he persisted and ultimately the loan was approved. His parent's cabin was the only structure on the property, so he proceeded to build access roads and develop a water system for the young vineyard. The vineyards were planted in 1981. Today there are 35 acres planted to wine grapes.
With his construction background, Fred has built all the buildings on the property. The majority of Fred's time is now focused on vineyard and winery management.
In addition to developing Schweiger Vineyards from clearing to planting, Fred also managed the vineyard development at the neighboring properties of Paloma and 7 and 8. Today, the majority of Fred's time is spent working on his mountain property. Fred is one of the few property owners on Spring Mountain that has done, and will continue to do everything himself (with the help of his family). The Schweiger family is proud to be one of the long-time property owners on Spring Mountain at nearly 53 years of ownership spanning four generations to live and work on the family estate.
Sally was born and raised in San Francisco, CA. She attended Lowell High School and went on to graduate from Concordia University in River Forest, IL. She taught elementary school in Fair Oaks and Santa Rosa, CA. After marrying Fred Schweiger in 1966, she gave birth to Diana in 1968 and Andrew in 1970. As a stay-at-home mom, Sally helped Fred by keeping the books for Schweiger Construction. As a couple, Sally and Fred started Schweiger Vineyards in 1979 and have been working together to make it a success ever since.