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Forgotten Barrel LLC

Meet The Team



Rodger Grove


Rodger Grove, owner of Forgotten Barrel Winery in Escondido is a native Southern Californian. His family is his most important priority, and he has been happily married his wife, Mitzi for twenty years. He has three grown children, daughter Carley, and sons Taylor, and Christopher. They have seven grandchildren!  

Rodger’s personal hobbies are raising Japanese Koi, and collecting wine. He is active in his church and supports many local charities. He graduated from California State University, Fullerton with a BA degree in Finance and major emphasis in Real Estate. He has continued his education over the years with numerous advanced commercial real estate courses.

In 2016 Rodger purchased the historic Ferrara Winery in Escondido, and has been working diligently to restore the winery using care to preserve its historical presence. This has given him the opportunity to significantly expand winery operations. He now has the facilities to produce local wine, purchasing grapes from some very fine vineyards in the San Diego area, yet continuing to produce Northern California sourced wine in the Napa winery. Rodger is nearing the completion of most of the restoration of the areas of the property and can now accommodate special events, including small weddings.

Escondido residents are delighted in the reopening of this historic property. Many stories are shared about their good memories of the Ferrara Family winery and they excited to be able to enjoy this property once again. 


John Eppler


John Eppler spent 30 years in Northern California where he had his own brand, John Robert Eppler Wines! He also spent time working at Robert Mondavi and Rosenblum Cellars, with two of the more innovative wine makers in California history.

He made his way to Southern California to "retire" but his love for winemaking pulled him back and Forgotten Barrel is the lucky winner! John brings his sense of independence making original choices when selecting vineyards and choosing winemaking methods. John's style is making full and richly flavored wines. They are big and bold which accentuates the terroir of San Diego county. We are excited to have John at the helm as we enjoy our 2nd harvest from San Diego county fruit.

Last year we made 2 barrels of Muscat of Alexandria, the grape from our home vineyard. We plan to bottle our first vintage of Muscato in 2018!




Manual Gonzalez

Construction Manager

Manny is a proud member of the Forgotten Barrel team. He is a handyman with expertise in custom and rustic woodworking. Manny is also no stranger to drywall and landscaping, having had his own landscaping business for many years. Manny has over 10 years of experience in carpentry which started in Puebla Mexico, where he was taught by his father. Manny is a native of Yanga, Veracruz Mexico and was born there in March of 1974.  

Manny has worked for several carpentry companies in the US. He takes pride in his hard work and his projects and is not afraid to think out of the box, Manny is the proud father to two handsome sons and spends most of his spare time with them. Manny looks forward to the growth of Forgotten Barrel and is proud to be part of this adventure.


Kaylan Wedemeyer

Tasting Room Coordinator

Kaylan is a graduate of San Diego State University. He has spent the majority of his career in the beverage industry but has found his passion to be wine.

Kaylan is working on his Semmoliers' certifications to further his wine knowledge and education in the industry. Kaylan is thrilled to have joined the team and welcomes you to come visit the tasting room at Forgotten Barrel. 


Forgotten Barrel now occupies the former Ferrara Winery, which was designated a California historic point of interest in the late 1970’s and a historic site by the city of Escondido in 1989.  The winery, was established in 1886 as one of San Diego county and Southern California’s first vineyards.  The winery was purchased in 1928 by George Ferrara, banking on the repeal of prohibition by President Roosevelt. 

The winery reopened in 1932-33 with the passage of the 21st amendment.   During the next 75 years, Ferrara Winery grew to prominence in the California wine industry.  It was operated by 3 generations until 2010.  Forgotten Barrel restored the historic property and opened the tasting room in 2017 and will continue to tell the story of the Ferrara family and the history of this amazing California landmark.


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