Go Small or Go Home: Staying True to Who We Are

Photo of Dry Creek Vineyard winery

Staying rooted in tradition while innovating for the future has been the key to our inspiration and success, even through the turbulent times of this past year and, candidly, as we continue to see other mid-size, family-owned wineries get gobbled up by massive corporations. As our full reopening came about, we found ourselves looking back with huge gratitude for (1) how we started, and (2) for our loyal, wine-loving friends like you! After all, our story of Dry Creek Vineyard and the Stare Wallace family isn’t one of fairy tales – there is no corporate mogul writing checks every month, or a day job in another industry to fund the winery. Our story is and always has been this: one dedicated family working day and night for five decades to turn what many considered an idealistic pipedream into a reality that revolutionized the California wine industry.

Dave Stare working harvest in 1975 As you may know, our founder David S. Stare brought his vision of a Loire-inspired winery back to the states after spending several years living in Europe. He would then make his mark in history with many “industry firsts” for our home appellation, including establishing the first winery since Prohibition and planting the first Sauvignon Blanc grapes! Leading up to his retirement in 2006, his daughter Kim and her husband Don put into place their vision for the future of the winery. Instead of selling out or radically growing production by sourcing fruit from lesser appellations, in effect “dumbing down” the wines, they went back to the basics. Their shift in philosophy led to dramatically reducing production, while sharpening quality and focus on appellation-driven, terroir-focused wines that rival the best in California!

Kim Stare Wallace and Don Wallace in the vineyardToday, we continue to break barriers with our commitment to transparent labeling and minimal intervention winemaking. Walking down the retail wine aisle, it’s getting harder to tell who is making the wine in the bottle, how it is made, and in some cases, even what varietals are in it! Clever marketing has sadly replaced authentic winemaking and the rich histories of the multigenerational wine families. Other items in the grocery store proudly proclaim that they are all-natural, gluten-free and vegan, but the wine bottles on the shelves are silent, keeping their stories hidden. We’re bucking this trend and giving the consumer a look at what’s really inside – after all, why not apply our approach to transparent food, to wine?

2020 Fumé Blanc BottleIt’s no secret that our family ownership and independence has remained crucial. We can only push the envelope as far as we have because we’ve stayed small and have a “no compromises” philosophy! We are proud to say that we are one of the last truly private, family-owned, iconic wineries consistently producing 90+ point wines. In an unpredictable world where things are getting bigger and faster, we hope to leave behind an even larger legacy: one of a wine family taking a smaller and slower approach that ultimately results in more delicious and honest wines. Thank you for joining us on this nearly 50-year journey, and cheers to many more years to come!