Sonoma County region
A harmonious partnership between winegrower and winemaker
It all began with a handshake more than two decades ago. Two friends who had worked together on various projects in the wine industry decided to band together to produce what each considered, “the perfect cool-climate wine.”
Wine industry super enologist Dan Goldfield and his longtime friend, fifth generation grower Steve Dutton, were determined to make their new venture a roaring success.
“Steve and I had been friends for a long time,” related Dan Goldfield. “His family was the most successful growers in the Russian River Valley and I had been buying their fruit for a long time. We had lunch one day at a pizza place and said, ‘let’s do it,’ and we shook hands.”
The integration of a much-heralded winemaker and a talented grower turned into a natural success called Dutton-Goldfield Winery. That was back in 1998 and the company’s first release of around 2,000 cases came in August of 2001. Of course, the tragedy that was 9/11 occurred a month later.
“For a long time, no one paid much attention to the wine business,” explained Dan Goldfield. “Then, a month later, Steve’s father, Warren, the Dutton family’s patriarch, passed away.” Warren Dutton and Goldfield had been close friends for years and his loss was a bitter pill for both owners to swallow.
“There’s no denying it was a most difficult time for both of us,” he continued. “But, somehow we managed to see it through and the winery became a real entity.” Numerous kudos from industry press and an excellent collection of high scores and competition medals made Dutton-Goldfield Winery a highly respected and highly collected entity.
“When we formed Dutton-Goldfield Winery, it was our intention to focus on the great Burgundian varietals that the Russian River Valley was producing. We started with a single vineyard Pinot Noir and a single vineyard Chardonnay,” explained Goldfield.
Today, the winery produces twelve single vineyard Pinot Noirs and three single vineyard Chardonnays, plus a smattering of other varietals and blends. Their total output has risen to over 15,000 cases, a real feat when dealing with specific vineyards and locales.
Some 75% of their fruit originates in either Dutton family-owned vineyards or Dutton family-controlled vineyards. The remainder comes from outside growing areas; Sonoma Coast AVA, Annapolis growing area and Marin County AVA.
For Dan Goldfield, the key to success can be found in one word - neighborhood. “I’ve been dedicated to the concept of community since I started my career in winemaking,” he stated. “I love the synergy it creates and it allows me to focus on the important aspects of my craft. Our growing area, the great Russian River Valley, had always produced superior Pinot Noir and Chardonnay fruit.”
Goldfield’s career is something of a legend within the wine community. Early in his career, he accepted a job with a struggling young Burgundian-based brand - La Crema. He stuck with the entity through bankruptcy and then guided it to the level of a 250,000-case winery (today, La Crema is well over a million case brand). Then, with its new owner, Jess Jackson (of Kendall- Jackson), he created another incredible entity called Hartford Court that cemented his wine career and his long-lasting legacy.
Goldfield’s focus has always been on developing cold climate varietals such as the kind that constitute Dutton-Goldfield Winery’s unique portfolio. While the fruit for these wines is among the most difficult to grow, and the resulting juice the most difficult to work with, Goldfield feels the results he has achieved makes all the hard work that much more satisfying.
“For anything to be good - make that great,” he reconsidered, “it must have to toil and exert great effort to achieve its status. That’s exactly what happens with our Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. The end product speaks for itself and we have both the critical acclaim and extremely high scores to prove our point.”
While Steve Dutton takes care of the fruit availability, Goldfield and his associate Jeff Restel handle all the blending and winemaking chores. Their new facility (formerly the Pellegrini Wine Company) is a real gem of what is Sonoma County wine aristocracy.
“Bob Pellegrini was in a position to sell his place,” confided Dan Goldfield, “but, he chose people from the neighborhood that he knew and respected and he still makes his wine at our facility - another great example of community synergy and acceptance. We are still a band of rebels who want to preserve what we think is best - our neighborhood.”
Please enjoy this great Platinum Wine Club offering from Dutton- Goldfield Winery. Cheers!
Map of the area
Dear Platinum Wine Club Members,
We are thrilled to share our 2016 Fox Den Vineyard Pinot Noir with you! As with many things in life, it’s the serendipity and connections that make things interesting, and this vineyard’s story is one of those perfect alignments of people and place.
I love to ride my bicycle around West Sonoma County, where the intricate ridges, valleys, nooks and crannies make for beautiful riding, as well as unique vineyard sites. A classic local ride involves ascending Harrison Grade Road, which climbs from Green Valley Road and crests on the top of Stoetz Ridge, at the western edge of Green Valley. I had often noticed a meadow in front of a home that I thought would be perfect for a vineyard. It had a slight southeastern slope, which gets early morning sun, with the fog layered in the valleys below. In early 2000, my wife, who’s a surgeon, happened to be chatting to a gentleman on whom she was getting ready to perform an emergency appendectomy, and found out he was the owner of this beautiful spot. She mentioned that if he ever wanted to plant a vineyard there, she’d be happy to connect him with me. Sure enough, several months later, he got in touch, so Steve and I went there, made a deal, and planted the vineyard. I’ve been lucky to make the wine from this spectacular site ever since.
The soil on the top of the ridge is pushed-up sea bottom, which makes it very permeable to vine roots, and low in potassium, which slows ripening and keeps acidity extremely high. The red-fruit brightness and silky texture of this wine really stand out to me. We always say that sharing our wines is like sharing our love of our home, and I hope this comes out in our Fox Den Vineyard Pinot Noir when you taste it, and that you all love it as much as we do at Dutton-Goldfield.