Mark and Sue: The History of Us
RENEGADE Winery started as a dream of ours back in 2004, when Mark and I met the owners of a small winery in Amador County, and became good friends with them. We became very interested in the wine industry.
As we started to learn about it, read about it, talk about it, try our hands at it, we found that it was consuming more and more of our conversation. We were both excited about learning more. Soon we were coming by and pouring wine at our friends’ winery in our spare time, for the fun of it.
Mark’s background was in construction. In 2006 when the economy collapsed, so did construction. He found himself with a lot of time on his hands. Not one to sit idle, he asked our winery friends if he could trade some of his labor for their knowledge of wine making. They agreed.
For the next two years, Mark worked hand in hand with the winemaker to learn everything he could about making great wine. Together we did it all, from picking the grapes to bottling and corking the wine, and everything in between.
In 2008, Mark made his first solo vintage of wine. Once it had sufficiently aged we were so excited about what we had that we offered to pour our wine at any, and all, functions that would allow us to. We started getting a group of supporters, fans of Mark’s wines who would tell us they had come to a function only because they had heard we would be pouring Mark’s wines.
I convinced Mark to enter his wines into the local county fairs “just for kicks.” No surprise to me, his wines started winning awards. Now that we had “award winning wines,” it was time to move things up a notch.
Being a Real Estate Broker, I set out to find a location so Mark could expand. We stumbled across a building that once housed a small local winery and thought, this is our chance.
We became a full bonded winery in Jan. 2012, meaning we can produce as much wine as we want. Still, we decided to take it slow. It is too easy to compromise quality for quantity, and we were not going to go there.
We officially opened as Renegade Winery in June of 2012. Mark has continued to make award winning wines, even with the growth of the winery. And his wines continue to win awards from happily surprised judges.
In December, 2015, with of the success of our winery, and the support of many loyal followers, we were able to purchase the former “Union House” in downtown Mokelumne Hill, at 8345 Main Street. After extensive renovations, we opened at our new tasting room location in January 2016.
Today we have a license to sell micro brews on tap as well, and food, which has allowed us to open up for our wonderful dinners on Friday night, sometimes with one of our favorite food trucks, sometimes a buffet, often with a guest chef, and full lunches on Saturday and Sunday.
I’m happy to say that these days, you want to arrive early on Friday nights as both the patio and indoor fill up with the sound of friends old and new sharing good food, wine and conversation. I don’t know which is more satisfying, seeing the faces of old friends and some of our original members enjoying each other’s company in our tasting room, or seeing so many new faces walk into Renegade for the first time.
What started out as a hobby, what Mark refers to as a “way to support my wife’s habit,” turned into a dream, which turned into an exciting new reality, not just for us but for our town. We are so excited about what the future holds, and we are looking forward to sharing it with you. Welcome to Renegade.