Henry Engelman (Great Grandfather)
In 1900 a German immigrant couple from the Volga river region of Russia named Henry and Elizabeth Engelman immigrated to the United States. Henry and his family took a long train ride from Ellis Island to Fresno, CA where he settled in town, and then bought a small ranch in the early 1900’s west of the city of Fresno. This is where he started the long family history of grape growing in Fresno County, and he added to his family with several sons and daughters.
Phillip Engelman (Grandfather)
Phillip was part of the first generation to be born in the United States, and being born on the ranch he was taught at an early age how to tend the crops and grow grapes. This was a different generation where you could not focus on one crop; they had to be able to raise many crops including cattle and livestock. In 1932 Phillip and Rose Engelman bought 40 acres of property on Rolinda where the winery is located today. Although the vineyard was primarily planted for raisins Phil and his brothers did grow grapes to make wine for family and friends. Phil and Rose also started a family here with two children Ilene and Norman.
Norman Engelman (Father)
Norman was raised with much of the same values as the previous generation, respect for the land and strong work ethic. He raised animals in 4H and Future Farmers of America, but eventually settled with focusing on grape growing. After high school Norman married his high school sweetheart Carolyn and attended Fresno State University where he pursued a degree in viticulture (grape growing). About the time of Norman finishing his Bachelors Degree at Fresno State the school added a Masters program in Plant Science. During his post graduate time at Fresno State Norman had the chance to work closely with Vincent Petrucci and at the time, the small Enology department. Norman was the third person to receive a Masters Degree in Viticulture from Fresno State, and was quickly offered a job in Napa Valley. Instead Norman decided to stay in Fresno and expand the family vineyards. Through the years Norman has served on many boards to help the California raisin industry, and at one time was even on the board that helped bring the California Dancing Raisins to life. Today Norman is content with helping his two sons Eric Engelman who runs Engelman Vineyards Inc., which takes care of all the farming, and is currently building LoMac Winery, and his son Bret Engelman who started Engelmann Cellars in 2000.
Bret & Elainea Engelman (Owner/Winemaker/Graphic Artist)
Engelmann Cellars was founded in March 2000 by Bret Engelman after graduating CSU Fresno with a BS degree in Business Management in 1996 and another BS degree in Enology in 1999. After college Bret was in charge of all wine making at a 12 million gallon a year winery in the Fresno area. In 2000 he started Engelmann Cellars in an old raisin shed that his grandfather built on the 200 acre family vineyard in 1957. Today Engelmann Cellars is run by Bret and his wife Elainea Engelman who graduated Cal Poly in Graphic Communications. Together they have brought the wine up to 3000 cases a year with 85% sold directly to the customer in their tasting room or online. Engelmann Cellars also has 5 local Costco warehouses selling their wine.