Our Story


The name Phantom Rivers refers to the Streams of misty fog that rolls in during the evenings at many of our vineyard sites, hugging the paths of ancient rivers, now valleys, that once flowed to the sea. This fog cools the vineyards at night and early morning which extends the hang time of grapes on the vine.  This unique climate of the Central Coast helps create the distinctive flavors and complexities of Phantom Rivers Wines.


 Each Phantom Rivers wine is produced from selected vineyards chosen to provide the desired flavor profile and fit for our style of wine.  This approach allows us to work closely with the grower and vineyard manager.  The Central Coast climate and terroir produces a wide variety of wine grapes, but some areas are much better suited to certain varietals than others.  This diversity in grape sourcing gives us the best possible results and is reflected in the wide array of awards we receive each year.


 John Thunen, PhD, is the winemaker for Phantom Rivers.  John had an extensive career in the aerospace industry during which time he stayed "grounded" by making wine.  During the past 30 years, John has honed his skills as an exceptional winemaker in much the same way he did as a Physicist, using scientific methods coupled with a natural artistic ability.


Steve Mathis is the President of Phantom Rivers and coordinates the efforts of the Phantom Rivers team, including partners Sue Mathis, Linda Thunen, Gary and Diana Smith and John Klacking.

Debbie Rau is our Tasting Room and Wine Club manager.  She is a key member of the Phantom Rivers team.  Stop by the tasting room at 211 E. Branch St. in the Village of Arroyo Grande, and say "hi" to Debbie!


Steve & Sue Mathis


Gary & Diana Smith

John & Linda Thunen


Debbie Rau, Tasting Room and Wine Club Manager


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