Dry Creek Vineyard was a pioneering project when it was started in 1972. David Stare was working for the railroad in the late 1960s when he realized his real passion was for wine, especially the wines he’d come to love during vacations to the Loire Valley. He enrolled in the viticulture program at the University of California at Davis and in 1972 found an old orchard to buy in Dry Creek Valley. He planted Sauvignon Blanc against the advice of nearby grape growers, who said the grape wouldn’t succeed in Dry Creek Valley. Within a few years the estate was producing Fume Blanc, Chenin Blanc, Merlot, Cabernet, Chardonnay and Zinfandel. Dry Creek Vineyard was the first estate in Dry Creek Valley since Prohibition and the first to use the Dry Creek Valley appellation. Today the estate has 185 acres of vineyards and is still owned and operated by the Stare family, though the president is now daughter Kim Stare Wallace. Tim Bell is winemaker. The estate is known for Fume Blanc, Chenin Blanc, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and especially its Zinfandel, which is consistently complimented by reviewers. Robert M. Parker Jr. has called the estate “one of the historic wineries...Dry Creek is among the pioneers in the movement for high-quality Zinfandels.”
Zinfandel is a black-skinned grape, but 85% of the wine produced is made into a rosy “White Zinfandel.” Red Zin is far more complex and bold, while still being light-bodied. It grows in popularity as winemakers continue to experiment with new styles and blends.