Brief History

A casual conversation between the Wilkinson family and renowned winemaker, Dave Phinney sparked an idea to mellow whiskey in seasoned wine barrels. Thus, the beginnings of The Splinter Group.

Being both intensely curious and insanely competitive (as winemakers tend to be), we set out to make the world’s greatest whiskey. Or at the very minimum, the greatest whiskey made by people who make great wine.

The rest is history.

Today, Splinter Group Spirits is a partnership between Vintage Wine Estates, The Wilkinson Family and winemakers Steve Matthiasson and Bob Cabral. We are dedicated to crafting the best Wine Country spirits around.

{Meet the Makers}

Alchemists, magicians, mavericks and makers who make it all possible.

Spirits Alchemists

They’re responsible for honing the polished spirit. They blend, taste, blend, taste, blend and taste some more until they craft the elements into a singular best expression – American Whiskey, Bourbon, Rye and Vermouth.

Bob Cabral

Renowned winemaker and whiskey aficionado, Bob Cabral signed on to The Splinter Group continuing the legacy of winemaker-crafted spirits. Bob earned Winemaker of the Year honors from Wine Enthusiast in 2011, and is recognized for having made the first American Pinot Noir to be awarded 100 points from a major wine publication.

Steve Matthiasson

Winemaker Steve Matthiasson, renowned for his eponymous Matthiasson Wines, and lover of all fermented and distilled beverages, has joined The Splinter Group to contribute his vision and expertise to the winemaker-crafted spirits. Steve earned Winemaker of the Year honors from Food & Wine Magazine in 2012 and the San Francisco Chronicle in 2014, and has been nominated four times for the James Beard Award.

John Wilkinson

Head of the Wilkinson family, John Wilkinson had a vision: whiskey from a wine perspective, with additional aging in seasoned wine barrels. John leads our production team and has an extraordinary talent of finding the best whiskies available. He is our most passionate inspiration for making good things great.

Spirits Magicians

Some of our favorite cocktails have been curated for us by these spirits magicians, check out our libations page to taste test their creations.

Matt Buttel

Matt is the founding President of the Nashville Chapter of the United States Bartenders Guild. He has been on the opening team of several award-winning Nashville projects, including the Hutton Hotel (2010 Conde Nast Traveler Hot List) and Pinewood Social (2014 James Beard Semifinalist – Best New Restaurant).

Freddy Schwenk

Freddy Schwenk was recognized as Eater Nashville's 2015 Bartender of the Year for his work at Food Network host Chef Maneet Chauhan's Nashville outpost, Chauhan Ale House.

Freddy's drinks have been published on www.punchdrink.com (as well as in their forthcoming iconic classics book), www.talesofthecocktail.com, www.buzzfeed.com, www.playboy.com, and is a contributor to Playboy's Bartender Confidential series.

Scott Beattie

Scott Beattie is arguably THE Wine Country Cocktailing Authority. He was nominated for Wine Enthusiast’s Rising Star Award in 2017, and named among their 40 under 40 in 2015.

Scott developed the bar program for the acclaimed Healdsburg restaurant, Cyrus and is the author of 'Artisanal Cocktails: Drinks Inspired by the Seasons from the Bar at Cyrus'.

Beattie also designed bar systems and cocktail programs for Hog Island Oyster Co Ferry Building SF; W South Beach Miami; Grand Hyatt San Francisco; Spoonbar, Mateo’s Cocina Latina Healdsburg; and Hog & Rocks/HiLo BBQ SF.

Beverage journalist Camper English called Scott the most important California-style bartender whose ever been.