By Michele Dorner
owner of Dorner Family Vineyard 

Dorner Family Vineyard brings a taste of Europe to Tehachapi

Dorner Family Vineyard


April 20, 2024


Mike and Michele Dorner fulfilled their dream of owning a vineyard and winery in June 2020.

The vision for Dorner Family Vineyard began after owners Mike and Michele Dorner returned from an extended trip to Europe in 2009. The owners' motivation to plant a vineyard and build a tasting room was inspired by the time they spent in Germany enjoying the Riesling wines of the Mosel River, and their time spent wandering the cobblestone streets in the villages in the Tuscany region of Italy. Their dream of owning a vineyard and winery was realized in June 2020 when they opened their doors to the public.

The primary focus of Dorner Family Vineyard is the selection of wines they produce. By their five-year anniversary, every varietal sold at the winery will be produced and bottled on-site. Riesling and Zinfandel grapes are grown on the property, with the remaining varietals harvested throughout California, then brought back to the winery for processing, fermentation, aging and bottling. Currently, the tasting room boasts over two dozen award-winning wines made by Winemaker Mike Dorner.

Since their opening, Mike and Michele have welcomed thousands of guests to their tasting room. Both agree that some of the fondest memories of owning a winery are the guests who visit the tasting room.

"We have met some of the most genuinely nicest people by owning this business," they said.

Mike loves sharing his knowledge of growing vines and wine-making with the guests. Along with their six employees, Mike and Michele welcome guests to their tasting room every weekend to enjoy a variety of food and live music. Throughout the year, the Dorners host numerous community and private events, and larger annual events like Cinco de Mayo, Kick-off to Summer, Oktoberfest and the German Christmas Market.

Both Mike and Michele agree that owning a business can be challenging at times. Since the Dorners built their tasting room and winery from scratch, their interaction with the county during construction, including some daunting rules and regulations, was a definite learning curve. Now that they are open and are running a successful business, keeping up with the compliance end of owning a business keeps Michele on her toes.

Their one piece of advice for anyone looking to open a business would be this, "Allow twice as much time, and plan to spend 50% more money than you originally budgeted for. Glitches and hiccups will happen. That is a given. Just keep moving forward. Try not to get discouraged.... Remember to take time for yourselves. Owning a business should be one part of your life, not your entire life."


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