Paso Robles AVA
Starting out as home winemakers, these two are now crafting wines worthy of Double Gold Medals
Based in Paso Robles on California’s Central Coast, Dracaena Wines (pronounced Druh-see-nuh) was established by Mike and Lori Budd, who have made it their mission advocating for Cabernet Franc to have its day in the sun. They have built their winery around this sole varietal, one that is generally used for blending, and added to other, better-known varietals such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, and as a blending partner, Cabernet Franc is often not recognized as a varietal that can stand on its own. Since the inaugural vintage in 2013, Dracaena Wines has managed to make its mark with its award-winning Cabernet Francs and an unwavering dedication to show the potential of this lesser-known varietal.
Mike and Lori source their grapes from Plummer Vineyard, an exceptional site located on the east side of Paso Robles. Before contracting with the site, Mike and Lori had tried several wines that used Plummer Vineyard’s fruit and they loved the underlying color, aroma and flavor profiles. The grower, Joe Plummer, actually interviewed the Budds prior to selling his fruit to them, making sure to preserve his reputation as a high quality fruit source - he won’t see his fruit to just anyone. He also takes the time to share his knowledge about the vineyard and suggests how to modify vine rows to improve the Dracaena wine profile.
The winery’s name, Dracaena, is an unusual one, but there is a great story behind it. Dracaena is the genus name of the plant that is better known as the Draco plant. The taxonomy name allowed Mike and Lori to combine their scientific backgrounds (Lori with a Bachelors and Masters degree in Biology and Mike with a Bachelors and Masters degree in Food Science) while also honoring the memory of their adored weimaraner, Draco, in their winemaking endeavor. When Draco passed away in 2011 after 14 years, Mike and Lori needed to find a way to help with their grief and also keep his memory alive. Dracaena seemed like the perfect solution. Their winery labels were designed by a dear friend who hand drew Draco in the middle of a vineyard.
Mike and Lori may have started as home winemakers, but now they are crafting wines worthy of Double Gold Medals in one of the hottest wine regions in California. Lori also hosts the ‘Winephabet Street’ podcast, she has an award-winning blog, and she is very active in the social media spaces. She also created the official Cabernet Franc Day, which is celebrated on December 4th! Cheers to this passionate winemaking couple - we hope our Garagiste Wine Club Members enjoy the fruits of their labor.