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Gold Medal Wine Club
5330 Debbie Road, Suite 200
Santa Barbara, California 93111
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C. G. Di Arie Vineyard & Winery - Sierra Foothills

When Chaim Gur-Arieh emigrated from Israel to the United States in 1959 to continue his education, the idea of owning and operating a state-of-the art winery facility could not have possibly entered his mind. Chaim was born in Turkey but his education and early life took part in Israel during the formative years of the Israeli nation.

His thirst for knowledge led him to the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana where he received a degree in food science. A master’s degree in the same field came next and was immediately followed by a Ph. D around 1961. Following school, Gur-Arieh moved to San Francisco where he met his future wife Elisheva, who was a ballet dancer with the renowned Oakland Ballet. As their life together sprouted, Elisheva introduced Chaim to the wonders of wine and its relationship to his food- related background.

During the late 1970’s Chaim Gur-Arieh founded a business-consulting firm that helped food companies develop new products, and during the early 1980’s, he opened a company that produced assorted flavors.

“I had always knew how wine was made,” Chaim recently admitted, “I knew a great deal about fermented products as a whole. But I never paid much attention to wine. I used to drink beer and was perfectly happy. My dear wife changed all that.”

Several years into the flavors business, the Gur-Ariehs decided they were missing the boat. They both agreed that they wanted to be involved in a project that would afford them satisfaction. At Elisheva Gur-Arieh’s urging, the couple began looking for property in Napa Valley. For one reason or another, a suitable situation could not be located and their wine project went into a sate of limbo.

Two decades later, the pieces came together and the Gur-Ariehs acquired a marvelous 209-acre parcel in the Sierra foothills.

“The property values in Napa had escalated so much that they were unaffordable,” Chaim informed. “We looked around and were taken back by the beauty and majesty of the foothills. I wanted to establish our winery in an area where it was possible to become a shining star, and the foothills seemed perfect. In Napa or Sonoma, we would have been just another struggling winery.”

The new C. G. Di Arie Vineyard & Winery was begun and the first twenty acres were planted in 2002. Eventually, another forty acres will be planted that will bring the winery up to its permit capacity.

The entity’s first release of about 1400 cases came in 2001 and was made from purchased grapes. C. G. Di Arie is on a 10-year plan that will see it grow to about 12,000 cases, all of which is expected to be estate-grown fruit.

Chaim Gur-Arieh (yes, the ‘h’ in his last name was dropped in naming the winery) feels he has learned a great deal about wine and the wine business since his wife first introduced him to the seductive beverage.

“I have studied and read a great deal and have taken a number of classes at UC Davis,” he added. “I have also tasted thousands of wines in the company of experts. I also know exactly what style and type of wine I want to be known for.”

Gur-Arieh indicated that be prefers a wine that is definitely on the fruity side that appeals to the mid-palate and possesses a long finish. He terms his wine style ‘gentle’ and favors little or no heavy oak overtones nor any aggressive acid. He also dislikes sweet or pruney finishes and prefers a clean taste.

“I am after a style of wine that people will immediately recognize,” Chaim went on. “I want to be known as a great winemaker and have people celebrate with me as to the quality of our wines.”

So far C.G. Di Arie’s first releases have met with excellent critical acclaim. Elisheva has designed both the logo and labels to fit the couple’s marketing strategy. Now a widely recognized abstract artist, Elisheva Gur-Arieh shows her own work at the winery’s art gallery and intends to make it into a showcase for other California artists in the future.

Right now C. G. Di Arie Vineyard & Winery is a most unique adventure into futuristic winemaking in a marvelous and picturesque setting. It fits Chaim and Elisheva to the proverbial “T”.

We know you will enjoy this month’s Platinum selection as much as we have enjoyed bringing it and the fascinating Gur-Ariehs to your attention. Enjoy!