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CRU Wine Company

Paso Robles AVA

Founded in 2003, this winery is a jewel in the Central Valley

Richard Spencer never thought he would one day find himself in the wine business, much less the owner of Madera, California-based CRU Wine Company. The Wisconsin native and long-time resident of Fresno was deeply involved in the construction business and took part in building many of North Central California's hospitals, schools, and numerous other large buildings.

At one point in his life, around the age of 40, Spencer began drinking wine as his beverage of choice. His wife Karen and a couple of their close friends started planning a number of trips together over the years, visiting Bordeaux and some of the other great wine regions of the world. Spencer also began collecting wine and today has a cellar with too many bottles to even count.

About twelve years ago, an unusual event occurred that ultimately thrust Richard Spencer into the wine industry. One of his friends owned a winery that wasn't doing very well, and he wanted to get out of the business. Spencer decided to help him out and bought some of the used winemaking equipment with the intention of moving it somewhere else or possible selling it. One thing lead to another, and Spencer and his wife decided to do it themselves. They located a nice 19-acre piece of land in Madera with an empty building on it and agreed to do it up right.

The CRU Wine Company was founded in 2003 and today serves as a jewel in the Central Valley, where smallish boutique wineries are the rarity rather than the norm. Spencer wanted to do everything first class, and with his background in construction, he was there to see it all through.

In regards to the wines, Spencer made a point of separating CRU from the other nearby wineries that relied on Central Valley grapes for their wines. Instead, he decided to source grapes from a number of regions which would allow him to make a wide range of wine styles. Spencer located top vineyards from both the cool, coastal regions and the warmer inland appellations. He has managed to stick to this philosophy and it has seemed to work out quite nicely.

Today, Richard Spencer has much to be thankful for with his successful Central Valley winery and, along with the rest of the 'cru,' he looks forward to what the future will bring. We are very excited to share this fantastic winery with our Gold Wine Club members. Cheers!

Map of the area

Ken Post - Winemaker

Picture of Ken Post - Winemaker

Ken began his career on the family ranch in Paso Robles. There, his family farmed 1,800 acres of alfalfa and various grains until the ranch was sold in the late 70's. At that time, Ken pursued a second career in highway construction. His firm contracted with the State of California and private organizations in providing highway paving, resurfacing, and oiling services. While this was a lucrative business, Ken wished to spend more time with his family and retired at the age of 40. It wasn't long before Ken craved more activity and decided to pursue his love of wine.

After enrolling in Fresno State's Enology Viticulture program and earning his degree, Ken began his third and final career as a winemaker in the Central Valley. He first worked for the respected small winery Oak Hollow, and then joined the CRU Wine Company in 2006. He has since been much of the spirit behind the company image and his love for winemaking shines through in each and every bottle he produces.