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 Northern Sonoma County. Over the last 40 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. 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 consistently use the term “Old Vines” Zinfandel, beginning with the 1985 vintage.
- Was the first to release a Zinfandel from the “Heritage” clone selection.
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. The future is bright for Dry Creek Vineyard!
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