Established in 1972 by David S. Stare, Dry Creek Vineyard is Dry Creek Valley’s flagship winery located in the heart of Sonoma County, California. Our premier, family-owned winery is celebrating 46 years of winemaking and is led by Dave’s daughter, Kim Stare Wallace. After 46 years, a lot of stories have been told about our pioneering winery, but here are three things that only a true Dry Creek Vineyard fan would know:
1. We owe our first harvest to a stick of bubblegum.
The first harvest in 1972 was quickly approaching, but the winery had yet to be built. Dry Creek Vineyard Founder David Stare purchased four tanks and a press, and set them up at Cuvaison Winery in Calistoga, which at that time was owned by some good friends that he had met on his initial trip to California. Dave first purchased 6.5 tons of Chardonnay from Robert Young, which was delivered to Cuvaison since Dry Creek Vineyard hadn’t purchased its own truck yet. About halfway over to Calistoga, the truck radiator overheated, started leaking and eventually came to a stop. The fellow working for Dave at the time didn’t know what to do but he loved to chew bubblegum, so he filled the radiator with cool water, shoved his wad of gum in the hole to stop the leak, and the truck was able to limp over the hill and deliver the grapes. In a turn of irony, Dave later bought that same truck – after the radiator was fixed, of course.
2. We were almost talked out of being the first to plant Sauvignon Blanc in the Dry Creek Valley.
Dave brought his love of Loire Valley white wine and in particular Sauvignon Blanc to the Dry Creek Valley to start his family winery. The Sonoma County Farm Advisor was adamantly opposed to Dave planting Sauvignon Blanc, which he deemed “inappropriate” to the region, and recommended that Dave plant Riesling, Gewurztraminer, Pinot Noir and Gamey Beaujolais on his property. As Dave says, “I was just bull-headed enough to do what I wanted to do,” so he planted the first Sauvignon Blanc in the Dry Creek Valley anyway, which is now considered to be the premier white varietal of the appellation.
3. We were the first winery to coin the term ‘Old Vines Zinfandel’.
Our family winery has had a long tradition of using old vine vineyards for the base of our Zinfandels. Back in the 80s, we had to combine the 1985 and 1986 vintages of Zinfandel but didn’t want to label the wine as a ‘non-vintage’, so we wanted to come up with a name that could speak to how special these ancient vines were. Gary Emmerich (who has worked for Dry Creek Vineyard for 41 years!) asked, “The vines are pretty old, so why don’t we call it old vines?” The term caught on within the wine industry and the rest is history!