About ApCal


An “appellation” is the statement, required by law, on a wine label declaring where the grapes were grown. No less than 85% of the grapes in that bottle MUST come from the listed appellation. Since the San Joaquin Valley is not known as a “prestigious” wine growing region, most of our wines simply read Appellation – California. As Paul Harvey would say, “Now you know the rest of the story!”

ApCal Tasting Room

Originally built as the family home for the Brown Family in 1928, our beautifully restored Spanish Colonial style tasting room is a magnificent example of architectural design. From the original hardwood floors to the arched stucco hallways, you’ll be transported back in time by its old world charm. Our beautifully landscaped gardens and expansive lawn area are shaded by a magnificent 100+-year-old Valley Oak tree that watches over the vineyards. As you make your way up the steps, you’ll feel the history of ApCal surround you.

Darren Schmall – Proprietor

ApCal is a dream come true for me and my family. As a fourth generation wine grape grower, I wanted to create a place that would showcase the quality of San Joaquin Valley wines and give credit to the family farmers who have supplied 75% of California’s wine for generations. Bringing together the very best wines from our regions winemakers into one convenient location seemed to like the best way to introduce travelers and locals to the delicious wines produced in our own backyard. As a graduate of Fresno State University and the California Agricultural Leadership program, creating ApCal was a small token of appreciation to all the family farmers and ranchers that have gone before me. Salute!

Sean Spence – Tasting Room Manager

Hello! I am the manager of ApCal, a Wine Tasting Room and events center, and all around great place to hang out. While I do love wine, I’m not your typical Tasting Room Manager. First off, I am not an expert in wine, and secondly, I’m definitely no wine snob! I got into wine pretty much just like I get into everything else, wine making and tasting is a science, and I LOVE science!

There are a lot of great things about working here at ApCal, and with Darren at the helm, each day is a new adventure and a new challenge. I started working for Darren years ago hauling in buckets of sand into a cornfield maze after a rain, then went to slopping hogs as the manager of his educational farm, to the present – managing ApCal – 13 years and counting working for Mr. ApCal.

There is a lot to ApCal behind the scenes that most have no idea about. We are HUGE into Social Media Marketing and Promotion. Being from farming backgrounds, we figure it is better for us to learn how to do what we need done, rather than always pay for it. Our Facebook and Website are perfect examples. We get the training and experience we need, then we run with it. All of our web updating is done in-house, and that’s the part I love most! Keeping up our Facebook is for sure a large task, and a team effort. Darren produces content more times than not, and from there we find the best way to deliver that content and schedule it accordingly. There is so much more to it than just writing a post!

I am a techno FREAK! And I have to give Darren some credit, even though he is getting a little numerically advanced, we run iPads for credit card processing, use Google apps to make sure all employees are on the same page, and last year I even got him to buy an iPhone! In fact, he is now carrying around the iPhone 5! I am so proud!

As you can see, there is so much more to ApCal than just wine tasting. From Darren who we hide and don’t let out of the back office till Friday night – to the Wine Mavens at the bar – to me, who more often than not, is stuck behind a computer (which is where I love to be), we ALL love working at ApCal!

Our Team of Wine Mavens

Our Team of lovely wine pourers was chosen based on their personality and hospitality skills – these Ladies are fun! We taught them about the wines of our region and instructed them to make a friend of everyone who walks through our doors. It’s not surprising that many of our customers know our Team members by first name and always have the nicest compliments about the service. Come meet our Team and see for yourself!