Dry Creek Valley Pioneer: David Stare A dramatic wave of change occurred in 1972 when David S. Stare opened the doors of Dry Creek Vineyard, the first new winery to be built in Dry Creek Valley since Prohibition. Guided by a new vision for this long neglected grape growing region, his initiative launched a whole new era of premium wine production. Dry Creek Vineyard’s leadership role under Stare has inspired many important changes for Sonoma County. Sonoma County’s first Fume Blanc was created there. New standards of quality resulted from the winery’s advocacy for Bordeaux style blending, as opposed to the use of only a single grape varietal, then in vogue. And, perhaps most importantly, appellation status for the entire Dry Creek Valley originated at Stare’s winery, no mean feat for a young MIT graduate who decided in 1971 to chuck his secure, but unfulfilling career as a civil engineer and move to California. Unlikely as it may seem, Stare, a Bostonian, became the Dry Creek Valley Pioneer. Beginning in 1972 with a single parcel of land, a run-down prune orchard on Dry Creek Road, David Stare planted his first forty acres of grapes. Putting in mainly Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc and Chardonnay, Stare was laughed at for his folly. The locals thought he was nuts and one farm advisor is reputed to have uttered, "Sauvignon Blanc will never grow successfully in Dry Creek Valley." Today, Fume Blanc (Sauvignon Blanc) is the flagship wine of Dry Creek Vineyard. The winery‘s Chenin Blanc and Chardonnay also rank in the top echelon of California wines. So much for the naysayers, and so called experts. Stare’s original production goal for Dry Creek Vineyards was 20,000 cases, a rather ambitious undertaking in its day. Today, Dry Creek Vineyards produces nearly 120,000 cases of premium wines with the able assistance of winemakers, Larry Levin and Jeff McBride, Vineyard Manager, David Bevill and David’s daughter, Kim, and son-in-law Don Wallace. The latter constitute the marketing personnel. Aside from his personal accomplishments at Dry Creek Vineyards, Stare has been a leader and advocate for Sonoma County wines. He has left his pioneering spirit and entrepreneurial mark on a number of important organizations. Certainly, his ability to obtain BATF approval for the creation of Dry Creek Valley as an American Viticultural Area, or Appellation, in 1983 was in itself remarkable, but David has also helped found an important regional organization for area growers called Wine growers of Dry Creek Valley, an organization that now counts at least 110 members. He was also a founding member and past president of the Sonoma County Wineries Association, one of California’s most important advocates for quality wine production and promotion. Stare is also credited with the development of Winery Associates, a consortium of premium wineries that have joined together to joint-market their wines. This has proven to be one of the most successful marketing groups in California. Winery Associates presently counts five Sonoma County wineries, Alexander Valley Vineyard, Dry Creek Vineyards, Murphy-Goode, Pedroncelli and Quivira. Flora Springs in Napa Valley is also a member client. Together they constitute a formidable group of quality wineries, devoted to outstanding quality at affordable prices. How we wish more California wineries would emulate the quality of wines and intelligent marketing strategies of this group. As if David Stare’s resume would be incomplete without it, he has also been an early supporter of the Meritage Society in California and a founding father of the Society of Blancs (SOB’s), an organization that extols and promotes the virtues of the noble Sauvignon Blanc varietal in California. Many thanks to Stare for his indefatigable efforts on behalf of Dry Creek Valley, and premium California wines.