The Donum Estate
Napa Valley AVA
On a quest to make the ultimate Pinot Noir
This Special Feature comes from The Donum Estate, a carefully thought out, perfectly situated property that combines the absolute finest in Pinot Noir grape growing with the exacting expertise of gifted winemakers. It is the type of winery that many other wineries would like to emulate. The Donum Estate is comprised of three vineyards in Carneros, Anderson Valley, and the Russian River Valley, each uniquely situated to Pinot Noir and all farmed by the winery’s passionate owner/grower Anne Moller-Racke. Since 2001, Anne Moller-Racke has been on a mission to make what some insiders have called “the perfect Pinot Noir.”
Working closely with winemaker Kenneth Juhasz, she has formed ‘the ultimate Pinot Noir project’ and together, they have succeeded in creating legendary wines of both power and elegance. The Donum Estate has consistently garnered superior accolades from the wine industry press and has become a hard item to find on a consistent basis, a fact aided by such limited production. In its relatively short history, the winery has already set a standard that many Pinot Noir producers attempt to achieve.
The Donum Estate is owned by the Racke Family of Germany, who also owns the prestigious Robert Stemmler Winery in upper Sonoma. Donum is the pet project of Anne Moeller-Racke, who recognized the value of the vineyards when they were part of the Buena Vista Winery sale to Allied Domecq in 2001.
“I first started to see the incredible possibilities when I took a really close look at Carneros,” she admitted. “The Carneros terrain shaped its own destiny. All this land was formerly pastures, big expanses of rolling grassland that fed beef and dairy herds, goats and sheep. For a number of years, the cool climates and ever present moisture off the bay wasn’t that attractive to growers.”
Moeller-Racke feels that the advent of smaller, quality oriented wineries shaped the future of Carneros.
“When the demand for superior quality Chardonnay and Pinot Noir started in the mid 1980’s, Carneros quickly became everyone’s favorite place. I fell in love with the marvelous vineyards that comprise today’s The Donum Estate. and made sure they weren’t part of the Buena Vista sale.”
About the Vineyard
The Donum Estate 2008 Carneros Estate Grown Pinot Noir comes from the 70-acre Donum Ranch vineyard, located on gently rolling hills that rise up from San Pablo Bay in Carneros. From this site, The Donum Estate has been crafting some of the finest Pinot Noirs in the state since 2001.
The Carneros wine region is one of California’s most unique appellations, bridging the Napa and Sonoma Valleys in northern California. This cool climate appellation has long been known for its elegant Pinot Noirs and it’s easy to see why. Influenced by the cooling effect of the Pacific Ocean and a combination of summer fog, warm days, and a long growing season makes this spot Pinot Noir’s dream come true.
Carneros became an official American Viticultural Area (AVA) in 1983. It was the first wine region in California to be defined by its climate characteristics rather than political boundaries. Today, the Carneros region is home to approximately 8,000 vineyard acres and 30 wineries.
A letter from the President & Winnower
Dear Platinum Series Members,
This "gift," from Gold Medal Wine Club, is our 2006 Donum Carneros Estate Grown Pinot Noir. I truly hope that you enjoy it.
The ultra premium Pinot Noirs produced by Donum Estate come from our closely tended estate vineyards nestled in the rolling hills of Carneros and in the Russian River Valley. We specialize in small lot, hand crafted Pinot Noir and attend to every detail from the vine to the wine.
Donum means “gift of the land.” As winegrowers, we guide the fruit through the seasons to bring you the best the year has to offer. Our approach to winemaking is to craft each wine in a way that represents the site and the vintage, that is balanced and rich, yet elegant and true to the variety.
I included our tasting notes. They will provide you with more details specific to the vintage and winemaking practices of your bottle of wine. Do let us know if you would like more information or if we may be of assistance to you. We would love to hear from you.
The Donum Estate
Kenneth Juhasz (YOU Haas) - Winemaker
Kenneth was appointed winemaker at The Donum Estate in 2005, bringing with him incredible experience and a commitment to creating wines of power and elegance that express the site from which they are from. Kenneth’s interest in enology had grown as he worked his way through school in fine restaurants and the local wine shop in his native North Carolina.
After college, he eagerly pursued his passion for Pinot Noir west to the Willamette Valley. There he began working with winemaker Ken Bernards, who became Kenneth’s mentor over the next few years. When Juhasz came to Carneros in 2002, Bernards helped him create and launch the ‘ultimate Pinot Noir project” at The Donum Estate. Kenneth became winemaker at The Donum Estate just three years later.
Kenneth further enhanced his knowledge with trips to Oregon and the South Island of New Zealand, where he spearheaded a start-up Pinot Noir operation at Hinton Estate. Now at Donum Estate, Kenneth works closely with winegrower Ann Moller-Racke and is dedicated to crafting outstanding wines from the winery’s estate vineyards in the Carneros and Russian River Valley appellations.