Dry Creek Vineyard was the first new winery established in the Dry Creek Valley after Prohibition. It was David Stare’s vision to plant Sauvignon Blanc that firmly cemented the winery’s legacy as one of California’s most important wineries.
The history of Dry Creek Vineyard is a long and colorful one. Founded in 1972 by David S. Stare, Dry Creek Vineyard paved the way for a renaissance of winemaking and viticulture in the Dry Creek Valley.
Before his arrival, the Dry Creek Valley was little more than a few family farms and prune orchards. It was Dave’s vision to start a Loire Valley inspired winery, which triggered a viticultural reawakening in northern Sonoma County.
1972 – 2015 Celebrating Over 40 Years of Family Winemaking
The history of Dry Creek Vineyard is a long and colorful one. Founded in 1972 by David S. Stare, Dry Creek Vineyard paved the way for a renaissance of winemaking and viticulture in the Dry Creek Valley. Before his arrival, the Dry Creek Valley was little more than a few family farms and prune orchards. It was Dave’s vision to start a Loire Valley inspired winery, which triggered a viticultural reawakening in northern Sonoma County.
Without a doubt, David Stare is a pioneer. Heading west in the late 1960s, he personified the character and work ethic of early Gold Rush pioneers. 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, he headed west to California to start his own family winery.
Upon his arrival, Dave began taking winemaking classes at UC Davis as a graduate student. On the weekends, he spent time looking at vineyard land from Monterey to Mendocino. It was during one of those weekend trips that fate drew Dave to the Dry Creek Valley. When he saw an old prune orchard across the street from the Dry Creek General Store, Dave realized that he had found his dream location. He purchased the orchard and began planting vines. Captivated by his memories of Loire-style wines, Sauvignon Blanc seemed destined to figure prominently in the Dry Creek Vineyard portfolio. However, several famed vineyard specialists advised him against planting Sauvignon Blanc. Always looking to push the envelope, Dave planted the varietal anyway and the rest is history.
Today, our second-generation family owned winery continues to evolve and grow to meet the demands of a global wine marketplace. The primary mission of our winery is to produce distinctive wines that overdeliver on quality. For more than 40 years, this pursuit of winemaking excellence has led to many international awards and accolades. With a loyal following of wine club members and customers, the future of Dry Creek Vineyard has never been brighter.
Dry Creek Vineyard is one of the few remaining family-owned wineries in California. With more than 40 years of grape growing and winemaking experience, our efforts continue to focus on the quality of wine in the bottle. When founder David Stare started Dry Creek Vineyard, he began the winery with a single-minded effort to offer the highest quality wine possible at a reasonable price. Dave realized that the success of the winery hinged upon providing that “something special” in the bottle to keep customers coming back for more.
Today, the second generation continues to build upon those early-established values. Dave’s daughter and president of the winery, Kim Stare Wallace, is wholly committed to the quality of wine produced at Dry Creek Vineyard. The goal remains the same: to produce high quality wines while being mindful of the original vision of the winery.
David 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.
Kim Stare Wallace - President
As a small child, Kim Stare Wallace was wielding a shovel at her father’s side when he broke ground for Dry Creek Vineyard in 1972. She’s been passionate about the wine industry ever since. Kim has seen the California wine industry mature through its ups and downs and is determined that her family winery will stay in the family. Kim insists upon an unwavering focus on winemaking excellence.
After graduating magna cum laude from San Francisco State University, Kim began a career in the fashion industry and later used her knowledge and expertise with design to help build Dry Creek Vineyard’s dynamic brand. Kim joined the winery in 1986 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 consumers’ minds.
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. Her hands-on approach and desire to succeed meant she did everything from strategic planning, to tasting and ranking multiple barrel samples, reviewing the annual budget, meeting with wine writers, planning promotional events and entertaining key customers. Today, Kim serves as President of the winery. Her vision for the future of Dry Creek Vineyard is clear – honor the past while striving to produce wines of outstanding distinction that consistently overdeliver and provide great enjoyment to wine drinkers.
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!
Tim Bell - Winemaker
Tim Bell, winemaker at Dry Creek Vineyard, has worked with a wide range of grape varieties and wine styles in Napa Valley, Sonoma, and the Central Coast: still wine, sparkling, dessert, even Kosher. Tim’s creativity in blending and extensive experience shaping wine quality in the vineyard made him a great choice for the winemaking team at Dry Creek Vineyard starting in 2011. He graduated with honors in winemaking at UC Davis, learning the intricacies of wine chemistry and microbiology that inform his stylistic choices in creating delicious blends. With this education, and formative experiences in a previous career selling wine, Tim arrived at a balanced, complex winemaking style shaped by his precise palate and preference for wines that define their varietal character.
Early in his career, Tim worked at Freemark Abbey, helping to shape the wine style and vineyard program. Later, he became the Director of Winemaking at Kunde, gaining critical acclaim for his Sauvignon Blancs, Zinfandels and Cabernet Sauvignons. All of this experience has prepared Tim for what he has called “his best winemaking job.”
At Dry Creek Vineyard, Tim has brought his level of precision and detail to our cellar making numerous tweaks and changes all in the name of improved wine quality. Many of his most important decisions begin in the vineyard, where he works closely with vineyard manager Matt Vogensen to ensure each block is producing the desired yields. Picking decisions at harvest are often made by walking the vine rows and tasting grapes. His hands-on nature and positive attitude have made Tim an invaluable member of the senior management team.
Away from the winery, Tim spends time outdoors with his family as much as he can, usually somewhere involving bodies of water. His other interests include music of all kinds and good food (and wine!). Weekends often find him grilling the tastiest burgers on the west coast. Recently, Tim relocated with his family to Santa Rosa, CA to be closer to the winery.
Adam Johnson - Assistant Winemaker
Adam Johnson, who joined Dry Creek Vineyard in March 2015, is an integral part of the winemaking team. From lab management to cellar supervision, Adam ensures that each and every Dry Creek Vineyard wine is held to the highest standards.
As a Sonoma County native, Adam is passionate about the vineyards and wine community that make up the Dry Creek Valley appellation. He earned his degree in enology and viticulture from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo in 2011. Beginning with Harvest 2008, Adam went to work for Orcutt Road Cellars in San Luis Obispo, a 3,000 ton custom crush facility. Wearing a variety of hats throughout his tenure, Adam was eventually promoted to Enologist, overseeing all of the critical lab analysis and the wine integrity for each custom crush client. In this role, he was exposed to many different varietals from appellations around California allowing him to grow substantial experience in all facets of wine production.
Adam considers the past 7 years at Orcutt Road the proper “boot camp” training for his new role at Dry Creek Vineyard. His desire to be hands-on in every facet of winemaking, along with dreaming of a move back to Sonoma County, has landed Adam at his dream job. Newly married, Adam and his bride Andi reside in Santa Rosa, CA. Adam is thrilled to join the experienced and passionate cellar team at Dry Creek Vineyard.
Four Clones Vineyard - DCV2
DCV2 represents our most recent planting of Zinfandel. Located in the front half of the winery, this 4.5 acre parcel was planted in the head-pruned style and is a throwback to a bygone era of grape growing in the Dry Creek Valley.
The Original - DV3
Without a doubt, DCV3 is the crown jewel of our estate vineyards. Home to the original planting of Sauvignon Blanc in the Dry Creek Valley, DCV3 has been called one of America’s great heritage vineyards.
Bullock House - DCV6
Located across Lambert Bridge Road from the winery, DCV6 was recently replanted to Malbec, Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc to help support the winery’s vision for estate Sauvignon Blanc and Bordeaux varietal production.
Heritage Vineyard - DCV7
Our DCV7 Estate Heritage Vineyard is one of our proudest achievements. Using old vine budwood, grafted onto young rootstock, it preserves the heritage or link to historic old vine Zinfandel vineyards in the Dry Creek Valley.
Farmhouse Vineyard - DCV8
Located in the Russian River Valley, DCV8 provides us with the ideal fruit contrast to our warmer Dry Creek Valley home appellation. Planted to Sauvignon Blanc and Zinfandel, this vineyard remains one of our backbone properties in Sonoma County.
Endeavour Vineyard - DCV9
For 20 years, we scoured the Dry Creek Valley in search of the finest site to grow Bordeaux varieties. This 30-acre bowl shaped parcel in the Lytton Springs district represents the second generation’s vision for world class grape growing and winemaking in the Dry Creek Valley.
Foggy Oaks Vineyard - DCV10
Our Russian River Valley vineyard provides us with the ideal microclimate to grow outstanding cool climate grapes such as Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. The maritime influences strike just the right note of flavors and acidity to produce a perfectly balanced wine.
This incredible Dry Creek Valley property has provided us with stellar Zinfandel for more than 25 years. We use some of the fruit for our Heritage Vines Zinfandel bottling and also produce a power-packed single vineyard wine using grapes from two adjacent western facing hillside parcels from this famed vineyard.
Beeson Ranch is one of Dry Creek Valley’s iconic old vine vineyards. Dating back to 1896, this head-pruned, dry farmed property is truly a labor of love. The fruit comprises both a portion of our Old Vine Zinfandel as well as a single vineyard bottling named after the ranch.
Duff Bevill - Vineyard Manager
Our vineyard manager, Duff Bevill, is equally passionate about the notion that great wine starts in the vineyard. With more than 20 consecutive years of hands-on experience managing both our estate and contract vineyards, Duff is a big reason our wine quality remains consistently excellent.
Because a commitment to vineyard diversity is the cornerstone of our winemaking philosophy, Duff Bevill has the formidable challenge of maximizing fruit quality from each of 12 different vineyards – including 10 individual estate properties. For more than two decades, he has acquired knowledge about even the most subtle differences between vineyards and how fine-tuning viticultural practices brings out the best from each. In May 2006, Duff was awarded with the prestigious Viticulture Award of Excellence from the Sonoma County Grape Growers Association.
Matching vineyard to varietal in order to grow and produce world class wines is at the heart of our philosophy. Being appellation minded and seeking growing sites that fit our winemaking approach aligns with the future vision of our family winery.
Our vineyards in Dry Creek Valley wine country give us a perfect opportunity to grow many varietals. Matching vineyard to varietal in order to grow and produce many types of world-class wine is at the heart of our philosophy. Being appellation minded and seeking growing sites that fit our winemaking approach aligns with the future vision of our family winery.
Sonoma County Wine Country Offers a Wide Array of Growing Conditions
Vineyard diversity forms the cornerstone of our winemaking philosophy. Sonoma County’s has a vast array of growing conditions that allow us to satisfy our desire to define varietal type by discovering varietal-specific growing conditions. To ensure a measure of control in this regard, we farm multiple vineyards within ten separate estate-owned properties in the heart of wine country that total approximately 185 vine acres.
For example, the Dry Creek Valley is the keeper of our hearts for several types of wine, including Sauvignon Blanc, Zinfandel and, more recently, the Bordeaux varieties. Our passion for wine, though, often causes us to connect with the Russian River Valley for cool-loving grapes like Chardonnay. For our Chenin Blanc, Clarksburg, in the Sacramento Delta, satisfies us with precisely balanced fruit. Our family-owned vineyards provide approximately 65% of the overall production at Dry Creek Vineyard. Additional fruit is sourced from other Dry Creek Valley vineyards managed by long-term contract growers.
In addition to vineyard diversity and the use of varied appellations to produce our different types of wine, there is also the lesser-known, more complex, notion of terroir. Climate, soil and “that special something” all come together to form an ideal backdrop for grape growing. And it’s not just grapes that flourish in Sonoma County wine country – plants, flowers, fruits and vegetables all enjoy the dramatic and varied topography of our region. From the incredible farmers’ markets to the use of fresh ingredients by our local restaurants, it’s no wonder why wine grapes enjoy such great success in Sonoma County and the Dry Creek Valley.