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by Fred McMillin
Seek the Creek
The neighbors were up in arms. This upstart M.I.T. engineer wanted to start a winery in Dry Creek.
The Rest of the Story
It all started so innocently. It had been over 50 years since anyone had built a winery in Sonoma County's Dry Creek Valley. Hence, land values were low (under $2,000 per acre), and David Stare's hopes were high, as he cruised the valley. Spotting a tractor in the field, the engineer-wannabe-vintner hailed the driver and asked if there was any land for sale. Was there ever! Within minutes he was talking to owner Elizabeth Howe. Within a few more minutes she was holding his check for $1,000, sealing the deal to purchase her 55-acre fruit orchard. He could see pear trees coming out and Chardonnay vines going in, BUT...
The year was 1972. Roads were narrow. Life was peaceful. Who needed tourists streaming into a winery tasting room? Who wanted trucks bringing in supplies and driving away with cases of wine? However, David finally convinced his new neighbors that there might be some benefits. Was he right?
The Dry Creek Streak
David was allowed to proceed. He soon had much company. The acres of vines in the valley increased about tenfold by 1997, to 5,500. The value of bare land increased more than tenfold, topping $25,000 per acre.
Gourmet Magazine's Gerald Asher points out that David started by emphasizing Chardonnay because of the enormous demand. Good choice. I recall the 1995 made the Wine Spectator's Top 100 Wines of the Year. The 1997 is...
Our Wine of the Day
1997 Reserve Chardonnay, Dry Creek Vineyard
05/25/00—Mother Needed a Cure
05/23/00—Hooray for Gamay
05/19/00—Why Fels Sells
05/18/00—Okey Dokey "nyoh-ky"
05/17/00—High on a Lonely Hill
05/16/00—A Large Lab
05/15/00—The Pioneering Pedroncellis
05/12/00—Trouble at Telmo
05/11/00—A Mother's Day Travail
05/05/00—Mendocino. Where's the Vino?
05/04/00—Pink Gets No Ink
05/02/00—Black and White
05/01/00—Your May 1st Symphony
This page created May 2000