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 15 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 very 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.
Despite business trips and long work days, Don’s primary focus has been his two children, Taylor and Spencer. From coaching Little League to addressing homework issues at the kitchen table, Don prides himself on being a hands-on Dad. 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.
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