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 Skip that day and we have been doing so each year since then. The wine from this vineyard is 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 Dodd family has been farming this land for generations and have only recently started producing grapes from their land. 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.
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.
In the 1800’s this piece of land was owned by Oscar Ryan, a local blacksmith. The Osgood’s still find pieces of metal from that time around the property. In 1922 the Oscars left the property and it was taken over by a neighbor, however no one lived there again until the Osgoods purchased it in 1977. During that time period the wood from the original buildings was gradually taken and used by neighbors as wood was in short supply.
In 1982 the Osgoods moved into a trailer on the farm and started farming barley. Walnut trees that had been farmed on the property by a neighbor added to the crops from the farm. In 2001 David cleared a section of the property to plant grapes. From the start these vines were dry farmed and head pruned. The Osgood property is operated with sustainable farming methods. In the springtime the weed cover is disced under, providing both weed control and fertilizer for the vines.
The grapes grown on this vineyard are Zinfandel, Petite Sirah, and a little Cabernet Sauvignon. The Zinfandel and Petite Sirah are used to make our Old Hat and Barfandel. The name Old Hat comes from Davids ever present hat that you can see in the pictures here! This is one of our original and favorite vineyards. The Osgood’s are some of the nicest folk you will ever meet and if you have a band playing you will definitely find Toby and David on the dance floor.
BAILEY RANCH VINEYARD
The Bailey family first purchased the 200 acre lot located on Peachy Canyon road in 1968. Pat Bailey and her husband, Barney, planted the first 10 acres of dry-farmed vines (Chenin Blanc) on the property in 1969. They subsequently planted Cab and Zin in 1970 and 1971. Though the vineyards did well, they were forced to sell 103 acres to pay medical bills for Barney, whose health had taken a turn for the worst.
Shortly after Barney passed, Pat and her son David decided to plant 9 acres of Zinfandel on the acreage retained from the sale as it was “what Barney would have done.”
The new Bailey vineyard, as well as the 25 acres of walnuts on the property, is all dry-farmed organically. Their North-eastern facing slopes planted full of Zinfandel produce a wine of inimitable terroir.
OLD OAK VINEYARD
In 1976 Pasquale and Leona Mastantuono (shortened to Mastan) purchased 65 acres on Willow Creek from Ernie and Ina Beth Claassen who had inherited the property from their parents. The Mastons secured Zinfandel cuttings from the Paul Mason Vineyard in Soledad supplemented with some cuttings from Geno’s Nursery in Madera and planted them in 1977.
Cathy and Dave Colmar were the owners of a 40 acre ranch on Willow Creek with 15 acres of Cabernet Sauvignon. Old Oak Vineyard was appropriately named after a beautiful and enormous live oak estimated to be in excess of 500 years of age which still stands proudly at the top of the hill.
When Leona Mastan listed her property on the market in early 2007 the Colmars purchased the ranch , sold their ranch, moved a mile down the road on Willow Creek. The entrance to the property is lined with a canapé of beautiful oaks (although none as old as the original) along Sheep Camp Creek and the property quickly became a passion and a project for the Colmars while retaining the name.
In 2007 an improvement program for the Zinfandel as well as a total overall development plan was created. Lone Madrone began acquiring Zinfandel in 2008 and with a guiding hand from Neil Collins, an additional 18 acres was planted in 2010. Five acres of Cabernet Sauvignon and Rhones including Syrah, Grenache Noir, Picpoul Blanc, Mourvedre, Grenache Blanc and Counoise were planted. With the exception of Syrah all of the other Rhones are planted on an 11’ x 11’ diamond dry farmed and head pruned. 2013 is the first year of production for these new plants.
Running through Old Oak Vineyard is Sheepcamp Creek. Is it any wonder then that the always fertile and creative mind of Neil Collins would do anything other than name the Zinfandel Sheepcamp Creek? Then, to piggy back on the “sheep” theme Neil created a blend of Grenache Blanc and Picpoul Blanc to be called what else ….Oveja! (Spanish for sheep) One can hardly wait to see how Neil’s sense of humor will be applied in the years to come.
What is so often overlooked in the wine business as we enjoy fine wines with great cuisine, when flipping through the glossy pages of magazines (or web sites) is that the very foundation of this profound beverage is farming. Farmers, rocks and dirt, graft and toil. sun and rain, frost and hail. Yet it is without debate that it is these very things that are responsible in making a great wine great, period. We believe this without reserve, and hence we have chosen to focus our attentions on singular vineyard sites in the very specific Districts of west Paso Robles. Here the soils are rich in lime and clay, the rain is plentiful enough, the sun is hot, the nights are cool, the ocean is close.
Singular vineyards farmed by equally singular humans. We prefer dry farming because it is the best expression of place, we prefer Organic farming because it is better, we strive to allow our wines to honor the land from which they were born and the people who tirelessly tended the vines.