Our family tree is a grapevine.

Family.  Heritage.  Authenticity.

This is what defines our family-owned winery in the heart of Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma County. With each passing year, we find ourselves one of the few remaining truly private, family-owned wineries driven to create appellation-focused, varietal-defining wines that rival the best in the world. Our independence is crucial because it guarantees that we determine our own destiny and can make our decisions based on a long-term outlook of what will produce the highest quality of wines. This simple yet powerful principle ensures that our family values remain strong and our wines have never been better!

Dry Creek Vineyard founder Dave Stare, 1980

David S. Stare

Founder

In many ways, David S. Stare is a pioneer. Coming west in the late 1960s with little more than a dream, Dave’s work ethic and determination drove his early success. Educated at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Dave worked for the B&O Railroad for several years but quickly realized that his true calling was in the wine industry. Inspired by his trips to the Loire Valley in France, his original plan was to move to France to build his own French chateaux. However, after reading about the burgeoning wine industry in California, Dave knew that coming west to start his winery was the right move to make.

Upon his arrival, Dave enrolled as a graduate student in winemaking at UC Davis and, on the weekends, spent time surveying vineyard land from Monterey to Mendocino. It was during one of those weekend trips that fate drew Dave to the Dry Creek Valley; coming upon an old prune orchard across the street from the Dry Creek General Store. Realizing that he had found his dream location, Dave promptly ripped out the fruit trees and began planting grapes. Because his inspiration was the Loire Valley, Sauvignon Blanc figured to be a prominent wine in the Dry Creek Vineyard portfolio. However, after consulting with several famed vineyard managers, he was advised against planting Sauvignon Blanc. Hearing Dave recount the story is a bit like listening to a gun slinger recount his shootout. “They told me Sauvignon Blanc would never grow in the Dry Creek Valley. I appreciated their advice but I knew I had to stick to what I knew was right. I was going to plant this varietal come hell or high water.” It turned out to be one of his best decisions.

As the first new winery in the Dry Creek Valley since Prohibition, Dry Creek Vineyard has become the standard bearer for Fumé Blanc in Sonoma County. For nearly 50 years, the winery has also developed an international reputation for its Dry Chenin Blanc, Chardonnay, Zinfandels and Bordeaux varietals. Dave’s legacy as a Sonoma County vintner will have a lasting impact for decades to come. Among the many achievements during his career, Dave:

 

  • Was the first to plant Sauvignon Blanc in the Dry Creek Valley.
  • Was the first to produce a Fumé Blanc in Sonoma County.
  • Initiated the appellation status for the Dry Creek Valley in 1983.
  • Was the first to label a wine with the Dry Creek Valley appellation.
  • Ranked among California’s first proponents of Bordeaux-style blending.
  • Was the first to release a wine using the descriptor ‘Meritage’ (1985 vintage) on the label to classify his Bordeaux-style blend.
  • Was the first to champion Zinfandel among world-class vinifera.
  • Was the first to coin the term “Old Vines” Zinfandel, beginning with the 1985 vintage.

With vision, determination and hard work, David S. Stare embodies the essence of a pioneering attitude. With Dave’s daughter Kim Stare Wallace now running the family business, the winery is flourishing under her guidance and leadership!

Dry Creek Vineyard's Kim Stare Wallace working in wine production, 1979

Kim Stare Wallace

President

Kim Stare Wallace was literally raised among the vines in Sonoma County’s Dry Creek Valley. Throughout her childhood, she watched as her father, David Stare, pioneered Dry Creek Vineyard, the first new winery to be built in the region following Prohibition. As a teen, she worked in the office, cellar, and on the bottling line as well as accompanying her parents on countless sales trips, business dinners, and wine tastings. From this early start, Kim grew up with a passion and understanding of the wine industry.

After graduating magna cum laude from San Francisco State University, Kim began a career in the fashion industry that would greatly impact her later role at Dry Creek Vineyard. Joining the winery in 1987 as Director of Marketing, one of her first achievements was the creation of nautical labels for Dry Creek Vineyard’s wines, an unprecedented move that has indelibly linked the winery to sailboats in consumer’s minds. Without a doubt, Kim can be credited for the creation of the winery’s dynamic brand imagery that lives on today with every bottle of wine produced.

In the mid-nineties, Kim took on the increased responsibility of Vice President of the winery, involved in all decisions affecting the quality of the Dry Creek Vineyard experience and winery operations. She has seen the California wine industry mature through its ups and downs and is determined that her family winery will stay in the family.

In 2011, Kim became President of Dry Creek Vineyard. Her vision for the future of this dynamic family business is clear – to honor the past while innovating for the future to come. Together with her husband Don Wallace, the second generation has been instrumental in guiding the winery on its path toward being recognized as a Certified California Sustainable Vineyard and Winery. Without a doubt, the family’s commitment to the environment and good stewardship of the land is tied to their desire to leave the winery to a third generation of family ownership. In addition to her very full plate at the winery, Kim donates her time to several boards in Sonoma County including the Sonoma County Vintners, the Santa Rosa Junior College Wine Studies Advisory Board and Santa Rosa Junior College Shone Farm Foundation.

Featured on the cover of Wine Spectator (March 31, 2021) and selected as a finalist for ‘Wine Executive of the Year’ for Wine Enthusiast’s 2019 Wine Star Awards, this savvy businesswoman, mother of two, wife, and second-generation winery owner is firmly committed to a “No Compromises” philosophy, producing appellation-focused, terroir-driven, varietal-defining wines.

Dry Creek Vineyard Partner Don Wallace in 2005

Don Wallace

Partner

Agriculture is a natural way of life for Don Wallace, the product of four generations of a hard-working California farming family. Don’s interest in machinery took him away from the farm for fifteen years while he pursued a career in international construction. While he was on a project in Sonoma County in 1980, Don met Dry Creek Vineyard founder David Stare’s daughter, Kim Stare, whom he married in 1982.

With his father-in-law and wife in the wine business, Don’s next move was a stint among the vines at Murphy-Goode Estate Winery to “test drive” his new family’s industry. After one year, Don accepted his father-in-law’s offer to manage ranch operations at Dry Creek Vineyard in 1990. Don’s sphere of influence gradually grew to encompass every aspect of the business, including winery operations and sales, as well as vineyard development and acquisitions. Don took on the role of General Manager in 1999 and in April 2006, he was appointed President of Dry Creek Vineyard. In 2012, Don decided to take a well deserved sabbatical to pursue some outside interests as well as an extended list of honey do’s at home!

When Don wasn’t frequenting the airways promoting Dry Creek Vineyard and regional sales programs around the country, he was an active industry advocate.  Don was at the forefront  of  the sustainable farming movement in California.  His work on sustainable issues has led him to take up a variety of important causes including salmon habitat restoration along the Dry Creek as well as water conservation issues in Sonoma County. He is a fellow of the Leadership Institute for Ecology and the Economy.

Don served as the Vice President for the Dry Creek Valley Association, and has also served on the Board of Directors for the Winegrowers of Dry Creek Valley, the Sonoma County Vintners, and The Wine Institute of California. In addition, he still finds time to pursue an array of interests. Don is a passionate gardener and gourmet cook, enjoys mushroom hunting and duck hunting and, naturally, is an avid sailor.