Dry Creek Vineyard

Jul 01, 2019

The Dry Creek family winery was established in 1972, but the story of Dry Creek Vineyard began much earlier than that.

Founder David Stare always had a dream to live overseas, so after he completed his degree in Civil Engineering and his MBA, he studied German for two years at Johns Hopkins University and found a position within the marketing department of a German steel firm to turn that dream into reality. While he was living in Europe, he visited many of the wineries in Germany and started to develop an interest in wine.

He returned to Boston in the spring of 1969 firmly bitten by the wine bug and enrolled in a wine appreciation class, taught by a gentleman named Fred Ek who was a partner in a company called Classic Wine Imports in Massachusetts. In June of 1970, Dave and his family spent two weeks in France, where he fell in love with French wines, specifically the wines of the Loire Valley and Bordeaux. Just after returning from the trip, he read an article in the Wall Street Journal about what a great future California had for making world-class wines, so he spent another two weeks in California, talking to wine industry leaders from UC Davis, Fresno State and the Wine Institute. When he returned to Boston, he told his family that they were going to move to California to start a winery.

Fast forward to 1973, when he set out to plant his first vineyard, later named ‘DCV3’. Dave brought his love of Loire Valley white wine, and in particular Sauvignon Blanc, to the Dry Creek Valley and was determined to introduce it to the region. The Sonoma County Farm Advisor recommended that Dave plant Riesling, Gewurztraminer, Pinot Noir and Gamay Beaujolais on his property and was adamantly opposed to Dave planting Sauvignon Blanc, which was deemed inappropriate to the region. Thankfully Dave trusted his instincts, because Sauvignon Blanc is now the most widely planted white varietal in Dry Creek Valley.

“The DCV3 vineyard is more than just dirt and vines – it is the heart and soul of the family winery. It exemplifies the French term of terroir, meaning the combination of soil, vines, climate, and geography coming together to produce grapes of distinction.” 

After all this time, the DCV3 vineyard represents not only Dave’s pioneering spirit, but also the commitment to quality and innovation of his daughter Kim and her husband Don. DCV3 has become the backbone of Dry Creek Vineyard’s Sauvignon Blanc program, producing fruit for both the Sonoma County Fumé Blanc and the Dry Creek Valley Sauvignon Blanc. This historic vineyard emanates a style all of its own, producing grapes that are full of citrus and grapefruit flavors, with a racy, herbaceous streak. The vines are carefully managed throughout the growing season to restrain some of the natural vigor in the soil through thinning the canopy in key areas so that the grapes receive the full sun that they need to develop flavor and sugar, while not becoming sunburned.

Their vineyard team also actively thins the shoots during the growing season so that the ideal number of canes grow from each vine. During the winter, cover crops and other sustainable farming practices ensure that the ecosystem is balanced and thriving.

A more recent picture of Kim Stare Wallace, Tim Bell (winemaker), and Don Wallace.

In 2015, Dry Creek Vineyard began the process of replanting a portion of this historic vineyard, to ensure that the quality of the fruit is impeccable and lives up to the standard that was set so many years ago. Rather than blast the soil with toxins to fumigate and replant immediately, Proprietor Don Wallace took the initiative to plant hay and other cover crops to allow the ground to regenerate naturally and replenish its nutrients. Now Don and Winemaker Tim Bell are in the process of selecting and sourcing the perfect clones to continue the legacy of this notable vineyard.

Since its inception, this vineyard has been farmed with dedication, passion and persistence, and others have taken notice! Noted author Paul Luckacs called the DCV3 vineyard, “One of the top vineyards in America” in his book, The Great Wines of America: The Top Forty Vintners, Vineyards, and Vintages. Leslie Sbrocco wrote in her article for The New York Times, “We can all thank owner David Stare of Dry Creek for bringing the now-famous grassy, grapefruit style of Sauvignon Blanc to our shores in the early 1970s.”

While choosing a favorite vineyard is comparable to the insurmountable task of choosing a favorite child, it is impossible for Dry Creek Vineyard not to swell with pride when talking about this seemingly insignificant piece of land that brought forth a renaissance of winegrowing and winemaking in Sonoma County in the early 1970s. Their hope is that when you sip their Fumé Blanc or our Sauvignon Blanc you can taste all the ambition and perseverance that has taken place to bring you these iconic wines for nearly 50 years!


with these Dry Creek Vineyard Favorites

This beautiful wine is wonderfully consistent vintage after vintage. At first swirl, aromatics of honeydew melon, white peach and watermelon rind spring forward from the glass with notes of orange blossom, honeysuckle and chamomile. This classic, Loire Valley-style wine is excellent when paired with fresh oysters, seafood, or just about anything!

This delicious wine incorporates small amounts of Sauvignon Musqué and Sauvignon Gris which adds a layer of depth and a fleshy, full-bodied mouthfeel. At first swirl, this wine presents tropical aromas of pineapple, passionfruit, melon and candied lemon. Seamless from start to finish, this is an elegant and refined Sauvignon Blanc.

This impeccable Cabernet Sauvignon displays lively aromatics of black cherry, black currant and dried blueberry. The wine is fruit-forward and youthful, with fine tannins and a finish of black and white pepper. This Cabernet is very characteristic of a Dry Creek Valley Bordeaux-style wine. It offers intensity and richness and reflects the terroir beautifully.

The grapes for this delicious Bordeaux-inspired blend come from several of our most prized estate and hillside vineyards in the Dry Creek Valley. At first swirl, the wine displays aromas of blueberry, vanilla and cherries. Several more minutes reveal hints of clove, cinnamon, black licorice and mocha characters.

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