Dry Creek Vineyard
Dry Creek Vineyard was founded in 1972 by David S. Stare. This is a story of belief and determination and a pioneering spirit. David graduated with a degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Massachusetts and an MBA from Northwestern University in Illinois, but always had a desire to travel, so he moved to Germany to work. Whilst living there David visited many wineries and began to develop an interest in wine. In 1969 he retuned to Boston and enrolled on a wine appreciation class, and the following summer spent two weeks with his family in France, falling in love with the wines of the Loire Valley and Bordeaux in particular. Shortly after returning home David read an article in the wall Street Journal about California's potential for making world-class wines. Firmly bitten by the wine bug now, David visited California and liking what he saw, packed up his wife and children and headed south, ready to make a future in the wine industry. He took winemaking classes at UC Davis during the week and looked at land at the weekends. Fate drew him to a rundown 55 acre prune orchard across the street from the Dry Creek General Store in Healdsburg in the heart of Sonoma County, and this was the moment when David realised that he had found his dream location. He acquired the orchard and the region saw its first vines planted since Prohibition. David had been captivated by the Sauvignon Blanc wines from the Loire and wanted to plant this grape, however, many famed specialists and experts advised him against this choice, believing the variety wouldn't suite the area. But David was determined, he trusted his instincts and went ahead anyway, and the rest, as they say, is history! David is a real innovator and visionary; he was the first to initiate the appellation status for Dry Creek Valley in 1983, and the first to label wine from the appellation, the first to release a wine with the classification “Meritage” on the label to classify Dry Creek's Bordeaux style blend [1985 vintage], and the first to coin the phrase “Old Vine Zinfandel” beginning with the 1985 vintage. David's daughter Kim Stare Wallace grew up in the vineyards and in the winery, developing a deep understanding of the wine industry, but swore that she would never work for the winery, and so began a career in the fashion business. But the pull of her heritage was too great, and when in 1987 her father convinced her to take up the position of Director of Marketing she accepted the post. In 1990 her husband Don also joined the business, and the couple took on increased responsibilities leading up to David's retirement in 2006. Many other mid-sized family wineries were being bought up by massive corporations but, instead of selling up or expanding by buying in fruit from outside their AVA, they decided to go back to basics and concentrate on quality and target appellation-driven, terroir-focused wines to rival the best in California. Dry Creek Vineyard is one of the last privately-owned family wineries in Sonoma County, Kim and Don acquired more Dry Creek properties, bringing their total estate to 185 acres under vine, which are all certificated sustainably farmed. Fruit is sourced from seven different vineyard sites, five are in the Dry Creek Valley AVA. The Original Vineyard is planted with Sauvignon Blanc, Sauvignon Musqué and Sauvignon Gris on sandy Yolo gravelly loam. Bullock House Vineyard has Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Franc and Malbec on sandy loam soils with river rock. Four Clones Vineyard is planted with Zinfandel, Petite Sirah and Alicante Bouchet on Manzanita gravelly loam. Wallace Ranch Vineyard has Sauvignon Blanc and Zinfandel on Manzanita gravelly loam. The Endeavour Vineyard is planted with Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, Zinfandel and Petite Sirah on Clough gravelly loam. Two vineyards are planted in the Russian River Valley AVA. Farmhouse Vineyard is planted with Sauvignon Blanc and Zinfandel on Huichica loam, clay and alluvial soils, and The Block 110 Vineyard is planted with Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir on clay loam soils. The wines are made with minimal intervention and without animal-fining products or gluten. Dry Creek Vineyard are primarily Sauvignon Blanc and Zinfandel specialists, but are also known for their Cabernet Sauvignon, Bordeaux varietals and Meritage blends. This is an iconic winery, the flagship winery of Dry Creek Valley who trusted their own instincts and followed their heart - Sauvignon Blanc is now the most widely planted white varietal in Dry Creek Valley! David was honoured with Wine Enthusiast Magazine's “American Wine Legend” award in 2021.