An Ultra boutique Monterey County winery offering incredibly focused, terroir-driven wines that capture the versatile growing region
VDR Winery True to its innovative name, VDR Winery (Very Dark Reds) offers distinctive red varietal wines that are dark red in color. Derived from the old-time grower’s practice of listing available wines for purchase at the bottom of a page under the VDR designation, these wines were usually small lots of unused, high quality juice that were mainly used for coloring in blended wines.
“We noticed that our Petite Sirah from Hames Valley was of exceptional quality. Also, the Petit Verdot was almost amazing,” offered owner Scott Scheid. “We decided the resultant wine filled a void and VDR Winery was the perfect spot for the blend.”
VDR made its debut in 2013 with a limited release of some 600 cases. It has grown to around 1,000 cases for the current year and has garnered a number of accolades since its debut. VDR Winery is expected to continue evolving into a formidable brand. Scheid credits his sister Heidi with naming the entity.
Dave Nagengast - Winemaker
A top notch discus thrower in both high school and college, Dave Nagengast chose the wine industry to show his skills. After competing in collegiate track and field at Cal State Fresno, Nagengast received a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture Science with an emphasis in Enology in 1985. He pointed to the complexity of the winemaking process as the main reason for his interest in the craft.
Over the next few years, he was employed as an assistant winemaker at several wineries including Storrs Winery & Vineyards, Mirassou Winery and San Martin Winery. His winemaking philosophy is to accentuate the character of the grape through the finished wine. Nagengast’s goal is to make wines that are true to the grape and balanced in mouthfeel. He feels he is still learning his art after more than 30 years in the role of winemaker. Nagengast is also the current winemaker for Scheid Family Vineyards.
Nagengast is also the owner of Nagengast Estate Vineyard, overlooking Hog Canyon and of the very successful Cinquain Cellars Winery in San Miguel, CA where his family currently resides.
Hames Valley AVA
The vast expanse that comprises the Monterey County AVA consists of approximately 140,000 acres of planted vines that run the veritable gauntlet of varietals and terroirs on California’s extensive Central Coast growing area. The region is sub-divided into nine sub-AVA’s that vary in size and quality of fruit produced. Two of these sub-regions provide the grapes for this month’s Gold Wine Club selections, the heralded Arroyo Seco AVA and the lesser known but equally established Hames Valley AVA.
Scott Scheid - Owner
When Scott Scheid was growing up in the Southern California city of Costa Mesa, he wasn’t at all sure of what he wanted to do with his life. His father, Al Scheid, was an investment banker and Scott was presumed to follow in his father’s footsteps.
“I attended Claremont McKenna College,” Scheid recently recalled, and graduated in 1982 with a degree in economics. I still wasn’t sure about a job, but my father was still keen on banking so I set up some interviews. After talking to a number of companies, I finally decided to go to New York and work for E.F. Hutton. A year later, I was made an options trader and began making some decent money.”
But, his mother wasn’t particularly happy with his move to New York and Scott Scheid was acutely aware that his family was extremely close, so he literally kept his options open. His father provided the impetus for the young trader to return to California.
“My Dad love to put deals together, and was successful in starting a number of companies by arranging the financing,” Scheid related. “Any industry he thought had an excellent chance at success caught his interest and he put together investors and made the company a reality. He was extremely successful with emerging companies and industries.”
At one point, Al Scheid became enamored with the wine industry and its fortuitous upside. He had planted his first rootstock in 1972 in a part of Monterey County that he thought had potential. Back then, Monterey County was little more than a passing thought for the well conceived wineries of Napa Valley and Sonoma County.
“Dad named his new venture the Monterey Farming Company and approached his clients about investing in the project. His idea was to keep these investors for a period of time and utilize the write-offs and perks the wine industry offered,” continued Scott Scheid. “Many investors loved the idea of owning a piece of a winery and the idea took off. I would return home for visits and most of the stories were centered around the wine industry.”
In June of 1986, Scott Scheid departed New York and returned to his family. His younger sister, Heidi, was an accounting analyst with Ernst & Young and agreed with her father that the wine industry provided an excellent opportunity for growth.
“We are an extremely close family and I was intrigued with the idea of Monterey County emerging as a major grower in the California wine industry. We were already supplying a number of top wineries with grapes, so I decided to become part of the operation. In the beginning, we were just farmers, but after a while it became apparent that we begin making wines with our name on them due to the success other wineries had with our fruit,” he added.
Both VDR Winery and Ranch 32 Winery are products of that evolution and play an important role in his company’s future development. “We want to grow these brands both nationally and even internationally,” Scheid confided. “They are both unique unto themselves and provide us with a platform to feature different varietals in a distinctive setting and package.”
Scott Scheid is truly a family-oriented man that possesses the vision and expertise necessary in the highly competitive modern California wine industry. His wines are serious additions to the state’s expanding portfolio and carry the banner of Monterey County to its highest levels.