Henry (Hank) John Battjes

By From page A5 | April 02, 2012

Hank Battjes

May 3, 1938 — March 21, 2012

Award-winning winemaker, Hank Battjes, was the loving husband to his wife Arlene, whom he adored and married in 1997. He is survived by his daughter, Leane Reelfs; son-in-law, Mike Reelfs; and their two sons, Christopher (14) and Alex (12); as well as his daughter, Bryna Dacus; and son-in-law Ken Dacus. He is also survived by his sister, Phyllis Reinders; brother-in-law, Harlan Reinders; and step-son, Tim Wheeler. Hank was preceded in death by his father, Joe Battjes; mother, Kay Battjes; and brother, Bob Battjes.

When Hank was around 8, the Battjes family moved from Chicago to Redlands, Calif., where Hank lived until he left for college. After receiving his BS and MS in Electrical Engineering from UC Berkeley and San Jose State, respectively, he worked at Philco before landing a job at GTE Sylvania, where he worked until he retired at the age of 55. He enjoyed flying a Cessna and was an avid cyclist as a member of Western Wheelers, but his real passion was making wine. It was a hobby that started in the basement of his Palo Alto home and grew to the purchase of 80 acres in the gorgeous Sierra Foothills in 1980. In the early years, Hank and his daughters put in irrigation, scraped roads, and plotted the land for planting grape vines. His parents, Joe and Kay, spent a good deal of time living on the ranch, making contributions as well. Over the years, the operation grew into Gold Hill Winery & Brewery, with his daughter, Bryna, taking over as the General Manager in 2010. Hank had realized his dream.

A celebration of life will be held May 5 at Gold Hill Vineyard at 11:30 a.m. Lodging options are available for out of town guests. Please email [email protected] or visit for more information. Visit Hank’s online memorial at


  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe and receive notifications of new posts by email.

  • Special Publications »

    Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our Terms of Service (updated 4/30/2015) and Privacy Policy (updated 4/7/2015).
    Copyright (c) 2016 McNaughton Newspapers, Inc., a family-owned local media company that proudly publishes the Daily Republic, Mountain Democrat, Davis Enterprise, Village Life and other community-driven publications.