Dry Creek Vineyard: A Guide to the Wines and Tasting Room Experience
Dry Creek Vineyard is a family-owned winery located in Sonoma County, California. Founded in 1972 by David S. Stare, the winery has been producing award-winning wines for over 50 years. Today, the winery is led by the second generation of the Stare family and continues to be a pioneer in the renaissance of winemaking and viticulture in the Dry Creek Valley.
Dry Creek Vineyard is known for producing exceptional wines from sustainably farmed grapes. The winery has over 185 acres of estate vineyards, which are farmed using sustainable practices to ensure the health of the land and the quality of the grapes. The winery produces a wide range of varietals, including Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot. Dry Creek Vineyard's commitment to sustainable farming and winemaking has earned them recognition as a Certified California Sustainable Winery and a Certified Sonoma County Sustainable Winery.
Visitors to Dry Creek Vineyard can enjoy a variety of experiences, including tastings, tours, and events. The winery offers several tasting options, including a seated tasting in the tasting room, a private tasting in the barrel room, and a tasting on the terrace overlooking the vineyards. Visitors can also take a guided tour of the winery and vineyards to learn more about the winemaking process and the history of the winery. Whether you're a wine connoisseur or a casual wine drinker, Dry Creek Vineyard has something to offer.
History of Dry Creek Vineyard
Dry Creek Vineyard is a family-owned winery located in the Dry Creek Valley of Sonoma County, California. The winery was founded in 1972 by David S. Stare, who had a passion for winemaking and viticulture.
David Stare was inspired to start his own winery after working at a winery in Bordeaux, France. He believed that the Dry Creek Valley had the potential to produce world-class wines, and he set out to prove it. In 1972, he purchased a 56-acre property in the valley and planted his first vines. The winery produced its first vintage in 1975, which included Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc, and Zinfandel.
Growth and Expansion
Over the years, Dry Creek Vineyard has grown and expanded, while still maintaining its commitment to producing high-quality wines. Today, the winery has over 185 acres of vineyards, producing a variety of wines, including Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot.
In 2016, Wine & Spirits Magazine named Dry Creek Vineyard as a Top 100 Winery for the first time in the winery's history. The winery has also received numerous other awards and accolades for its wines over the years.
Despite its growth and success, Dry Creek Vineyard has remained a family-owned and operated winery. David Stare's son, Kim Stare Wallace, now serves as the winery's President, and the family is committed to continuing the legacy of producing exceptional wines that showcase the unique terroir of the Dry Creek Valley.
Vineyard and Terroir
Dry Creek Vineyard is a family-owned winery located in the heart of the Dry Creek Valley AVA in Sonoma County, California. The winery has been producing high-quality wines for over 50 years, and their success can be attributed to the unique terroir of the region.
The Dry Creek Valley AVA is located just northwest of Healdsburg, California, and is approximately 16 miles long and 2 miles wide. The valley is surrounded by mountains, which protect it from the cool coastal winds and create a warm, Mediterranean climate that is ideal for growing grapes.
The soil in the Dry Creek Valley is primarily composed of gravel, sand, and clay, which is ideal for growing grapes. The gravel and sand allow for excellent drainage, which prevents the vines from becoming waterlogged, while the clay retains moisture, which is important during the dry summer months.
The climate in the Dry Creek Valley is characterized by warm, sunny days and cool nights, which is ideal for growing grapes. The warm days allow the grapes to ripen fully, while the cool nights help to preserve the acidity and balance of the grapes.
Overall, the unique combination of geographical location, soil composition, and climate make the Dry Creek Valley AVA one of the best terroirs in California for growing grapes. Dry Creek Vineyard has taken advantage of this unique terroir by producing high-quality wines that showcase the unique flavors and characteristics of the region.
Dry Creek Vineyard produces a variety of wines using different grape varieties and winemaking techniques. Here are the three main sub-sections that explain the wine production process at Dry Creek Vineyard.
Dry Creek Vineyard grows a variety of grape varieties, including Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, and more. They also source grapes from other vineyards in Sonoma County and other regions of California to produce different wine styles.
The winemaking process at Dry Creek Vineyard involves several steps, including harvesting, crushing, fermentation, and aging. The grapes are hand-harvested and sorted before crushing to ensure only the best grapes are used. The winemakers use traditional techniques, such as punch-downs and pump-overs, to extract the flavors and aromas from the grapes during fermentation.
Aging and Bottling
After fermentation, the wine is aged in oak barrels to develop more complex flavors and aromas. The winemakers use a combination of French, American, and Hungarian oak barrels to age the wine. Once the wine is ready, it is bottled and labeled on-site at the winery. The winery uses sustainable practices to reduce waste and energy consumption during the bottling process.
Dry Creek Vineyard produces high-quality wines that reflect the unique terroir of Sonoma County. The winery's commitment to sustainable practices and traditional winemaking techniques sets them apart in the wine industry.
Tasting and Tours
Dry Creek Vineyard offers a variety of tasting experiences and tours to suit different preferences. Here are the options available:
Tasting Room Experience
The tasting room at Dry Creek Vineyard is modeled after a Loire Valley chateau and is known for its relaxed and inviting atmosphere. Visitors can enjoy a seated tasting of the winery's limited-production and single-vineyard wines. The tasting fee is $30 per guest, but it is waived with the purchase of two bottles of featured wines. Private seated tastings are also available for groups of six or more.
In addition to the seated tasting, visitors can explore the signature red wines of Dry Creek Valley with the Zinfandels of Dry Creek Valley experience. This tasting is $50 per guest and includes a flight of four Zinfandels paired with artisanal cheeses.
For those who want to learn more about the winemaking process, Dry Creek Vineyard offers several tour options. The Estate Tour and Tasting is a guided walking tour of the property that includes a visit to the vineyards, crush pad, and barrel room. Visitors will also have the opportunity to taste the winery's current releases. The tour is $45 per person and lasts approximately 90 minutes.
For a more immersive experience, the Wine & Cheese Pairing Tour combines a tour of the property with a seated tasting of four wines paired with artisanal cheeses. This tour is $65 per person and lasts approximately two hours.
Private tours and tastings are also available for groups of six or more. The winery can accommodate up to 30 guests for private tours and tastings. Prices vary depending on the size of the group and the specific tour or tasting chosen.
Overall, Dry Creek Vineyard offers a range of tasting and tour options that cater to different preferences and interests. Visitors can enjoy a relaxed and inviting atmosphere while learning about the winemaking process and tasting some of the winery's award-winning wines.
Awards and Recognition
Dry Creek Vineyard has garnered numerous awards and accolades for their exceptional wines and sustainable practices. The winery has been recognized for their commitment to environmental stewardship, community involvement, and producing high-quality wines.
In 2022, Dry Creek Vineyard's 2020 Fumé Blanc was awarded a Platinum medal at the TEXSOM International Wine Awards, one of the most prestigious wine competitions in the United States. The same wine also received a Double Gold medal at the 2022 Sonoma County Harvest Fair and a Gold medal at the 2022 Sunset International Wine Competition.
Dry Creek Vineyard's 2021 Dry Chenin Blanc was awarded a Double Gold medal at the 2022 Sunset International Wine Competition and a Gold medal at the Critics Challenge in 2020. The winery's 2018 Old Vine Zinfandel was also recognized with a Gold medal at the 2020 TEXSOM International Wine Awards.
These accolades are a testament to the winery's commitment to producing exceptional wines through sustainable practices. Dry Creek Vineyard has been certified as a California Sustainable Winegrower since 2010 and has implemented numerous environmentally-friendly practices, such as using solar power, composting, and conserving water.
In addition to their wine awards, Dry Creek Vineyard's founder, David S. Stare, was honored as an "American Wine Legend" at the 22nd annual Wine Star Awards in 2021 by Wine Enthusiast Magazine. This award recognizes Stare's pioneering contributions to the wine industry in Sonoma County and his dedication to sustainable farming practices.
Dry Creek Vineyard's commitment to producing exceptional wines through sustainable practices has earned them numerous awards and recognition, cementing their position as one of the premier wineries in Sonoma County.