From vision to vineyard

It all started with a vision and a dream... and from those roots, a bountiful legacy grew.

Founder, Dan Smith, holding a cup of coffee, overlooking the vineyard.

Our visionary founder

Unique wines come from a unique inspiration — and founder Dan Smith was truly one of a kind. His reason for naming the vineyard and winery Sweet Cheeks: “It’s a name you’ll never forget.” His story, too, is unforgettable. That’s why it remains at the heart of everything we do today.

A vision comes to life

How did a commercial refrigeration guy turn a spark of inspiration into a thriving Eugene winery? It took hard work, plenty of grit, great friends — and a fridge full of beer. From the roots planted in 1989, acres of lush vines now flourish, along with a lot of love and laughter.

Old photo of the oak tree and a refriderator beside it by the vineyard.
Old photo of Founder, Dan Smith, stepping out of a blue semi truck with bins of grapes.
View from a table under an umbrella of the patio and outside of the tasting room.
Photo of Jessica Thomas, Katie Brown, Leo Gabica, and Beth Smith with an oak tree in the background.

Continuing a legacy

Tending Dan’s vision is a family affair. After our founder’s passing, a core group of family and devoted staff honor his legacy and nurture its growth. We’re proud to remain an unconventional Eugene winery in the thriving Southern Willamette Valley — with a future as intrepid as our humble beginnings.

Our winemaker’s story

It’s fitting that Leo’s journey to becoming one of the best Oregon winemakers (in our opinion!) is as unusual as our founder’s. After growing up in the Philippines, his dedication to building a new life for his family led him to Oregon — and to Sweet Cheeks Winery, where his passion for crafting simple, beautiful wines sustains our founding spirit.

Winemaker, Leo Gabica, on a forklift, looking up at the grape press.
Old photo of Leo Gabica, with a hand truck and barrels in the background.
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