Klau Mine Vineyards




Skip Dodd approached Neil several years ago asking him to come look at his vineyard as he felt the grapes being produced there would be a good fit for our program. It took several attempts to convince Neil to make the trip as we had all the grapes we needed at that time. Neil went off to see the vineyard and came home with a big grin on his face full of enthusiasm for this 'spectacular vineyard'. He agreed to buy grapes from Skp that day and we have been doing so each year since then. The wine from this vineyard its called 'The Dodd' , it is a blend of Tannat, Zinfandel, Petite Verdot and Cabernet Sauvignon. The first vintage from the Klau Mine Vineyard will be released in October 2012.
    The beginnings of a Vineyard                   
              The beginnings of a vineyard                      Coming right along
The Dodd family has been farming this land for generations and have only recently started producing grapes from their land. Below is the history of the ranch and the family who have farmed there.  The Dodds are an incredible family, as those who have met them will know, and we are honored to count them as friends as well as business associates.
Skip, Otto and Raymond Dodd                           The Dodd Family
Three Generations
   Otto Wyss, a native of Zurich, Switzerland, left his homeland in 1871 and traveled by sailing ship to New York.   He traveled across the continent by train to San Francisco.    Prior to his journey to the United States, he attended the technological Academy in Paris, France and also studied in Manchester, England.  Moving southward from San Francisco in 1872, he arrived in the small community of Adelaida, located some fifteen-twenty miles west of Paso Robles.  Young Otto was employed as an engineer and mapmaker at the Mahoney Quicksilver Mine later known as the Klau Mine.  At that time Adelaida was a thriving community of five hundred people, whereas its closest neighbor Paso Robles boasted fewer than a hundred inhabitants.   
   Deciding to make his home in Adelaida, he homesteaded one hundred sixty acres adjacent to the Klau Mine and ultimately enlarged his land holdings over the years.  Ambitious and hard-working, Otto Wyss also operated the Klau Post Office and Grocery Store.  He purchased butter from the dairymen and packed the butter in wooden boxes to keep the butter cool.  He loaded the butter on-board ship in Cayucos to be delivered to San Francisco.  Before returning he loaded a supply of groceries for his store in Adelaida.  Some of the groceries were ordered from San Francisco and the rest were purchased from Henry Cass who had developed the pier and warehouse at Cayucos.  For Otto it was a two-day round trip from Adelaida to Cayucos to get the supplies.
Snow in the Vineyard                                             Skip tends the vines
   About 1879, Otto became Postmaster of Klau.  Otto was also kept busy as a County Judge, Justice of the Peace, Constable and Notary Public, recording many of the homesteads in the Adelaida area.  He was an investor and shareholder in the Adelaida Telephone Company.  The land for the Sunderland School was donated by Otto Wyss, and he served as a school trustee for many years.
   With his first wife Ottilie, who died in 1888, Otto had six children.  Tragically, their three sons, Otto, Oscar, and Henry, all under six years of age, died within a three-day period during a diphtheria epidemic and one daughter, Anna, died in infancy.  Two daughters Emily and Alice survived from the first marriage.  In 1889, Otto married Selina Streul, also a native of Switzerland, and with her had four children, Selina, Mathilda, Pauline and Hans Max.  Only the three girls made it to adulthood, the little boy Hans died within his first year.  
   Otto Wyss lived the remainder of his life on his ranch in Adelaida.  In August 1926, Otto fell and fractured his hip and never recovered from this injury.  He died at the age of 81 and is buried at the Adelaida Cemetery in Adelaida.
Harvesting the Grapes                                        Nancy and Otto take a break
   Otto’s daughter Pauline “Polly” married John Edward “Ed” Dodd in 1912.  The Dodd family came to the area from Kentucky by wagon train in the late 1870’s.  Ed was born in the Pleyto-Hesperia area in 1885.  After his marriage to Polly, Ed operated the Wyss ranch.  Pauline succeeded her father, Otto, as Postmaster of Klau & also on the Sunderland School board.  Ed & Polly had five children:  Errol, Raymond, Shirley, Jim and Janice.  Ed and Polly worked the family ranch until retirement age when their sons took over.
   Pauline Dodd was a San Luis Obispo County Fair Director from 1942 until 1960.  The Home Economics Building at the fairgrounds was dedicated to her in 1955.  John “Ed” Dodd was Pioneer Day Marshal in 1956 and Pauline “Polly” Dodd was Queen in 1961.
   Skip Dodd married Nancy White in 1972 they raised three children on the ranch:  Gelene, Raymond, & Pauline “Polly”.  Daughter Gelene is married to Chris Coelho. Son Raymond married Audrey Rhyne.   The Skip Dodd family still lives on the original family ranch.   Skip & Nancy’s grandchildren: Chassey, Riley, & Adelaida “Addey” Coelho; and Otto Dodd are the six generations to have lived on and loved this beautiful ranch in Adelaida.
Otto Dodd - Future Vineyard Farmer                 Audrey  and Otto Dodd
   Up until 2005, the ranch land was primarily used for cattle and hay production.  After being a plumber for 30+ years Skip is ready for a change.  Skip’s son Raymond, having graduated from Cal Poly with an Ag Science degree, is working as a real estate agent is also ready for a change.  Skip and Raymond have always worked on the ranch and have always wanted to be full time farmers.   In 2006 the father- son team joined forces and planted the first phase of Klau Mine Vineyards.   Skip & Raymond along with a lot of family support and help begin their project.  Starting from scratch, prepping the land, working the soil, planting the plants, and harvesting the fruit doing all the work themselves has been very rewarding.  To date they are proud to have a total of 15 acres planted in Tannat, Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petite Verdot, & Petite Sirah.  The vineyard is all dry farmed & head pruned.  Old time farming practices is how Skip & Raymond tend the vineyard.  Zero irrigation, each row is spread 12’ feet from the next.   It is all about being patient, five-ten years for a dry farm vineyard to reach its potential.
The Finished Product - you will want some of this in your cellar!
   The Dodd Family Ranch has made some changes over the last 140 years.  The cattle operation is still in force, so is the hay farming & now a vineyard.  Skip & Raymond are living out their dreams of being farmers.  One thing that has not changed is it is still a family owned and operated ranch.   Great Grandpa Otto Wyss would be proud to see his ranch, six generations later, is still in the family and that father-son team Skip & Raymond Dodd have turned it into a productive ranching and farming operation.        
Cheers Dodd Family  

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