many ways, David S. Stare is a
pioneer. Coming west in the late
1960’s with little more than a
dream, he personified the type of
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 in France, Dave’s 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 began taking
classes on winemaking at UC Davis as
a graduate student and, on the
weekends, spent time surveying
vineyard land from
Monterrey to Mendocino.
It was during one of those
weekend trips that fate
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 Dave’s 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
horticulturists and 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 my guns. I was
going to plant this varietal come hell or
high water.” It turned out to be one of his
As the first new
winery in the Dry Creek Valley since prohibition, Dry Creek Vineyard
has become the standard bearer for Fumé Blanc in Northern Sonoma
County. Over the last 30 years, the winery has also developed an
international reputation for its Zinfandels, Chardonnay and
Dry Chenin Blanc.
Dave’s legacy as a Sonoma County vintner will have a lasting
impact. Among the many achievements during his career, Dave:
Was the first to plant Sauvignon Blanc in the Dry
Was the first to produce a
Fumé Blanc in Sonoma
Initiated the appellation status for Dry Creek
Valley in 1983.
Was the first to label a wine with the Dry Creek
Was the first to champion
Zinfandel among world-class vinifera.
Was the first to consistently use the term “Old
Vines” Zinfandel, beginning with the 1985 vintage.
Was the first to release a Zinfandel from the
“Heritage” clone selection.
determination and hard work, David S. Stare embodies the essence of
a pioneering attitude. As the second generation hoists the sail,
Dave’s spirit and energy will continue to drive the winery forward.