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Insights & Articles  /  At the Heart of DuMOL

Insights & Articles At the Heart of DuMOL

At the Heart of DuMOL - grapes

“As a ‘vineyard up’ winery, we remain very close to the ingredients, close to the vineyards. Our winemaking technique is secondary to what we achieve in the field.”

At the Heart of DuMOL - vineyards with fog

“It takes time to discover a vineyard’s defining characteristics and even longer to employ the right winemaking technique to draw out those features in the wines. It requires sensitivity, a lightness of touch. We try not to layer in too many winemaking techniques. We try not to obscure the vineyard character. Ultimately, this allows us to achieve a more complex, multi-dimensional, effortless quality in our wines.”

At the Heart of DuMOL - Hoppe-Kelly

The Hoppe-Kelly is planted on a steep hillside and features rocky, iron-rich, weathered volcanic soils that add an extra dimension of structure to the wines.

At the Heart of DuMOL - Andy

We planted the Jentoft Vineyard in 2007 using our own historic vine selections. Once a vine hits about 9-10 years old, the uniformity of the vine growth becomes regular and defined and the resulting fruit quality really takes a strong step ahead.

“We collaborate very closely with our growers, from pruning through to the day of harvest. We work together to express their piece of land in a way that draws out the unique characteristics of each parcel.”

DuMOL Winery night harvest
DuMOL Winery shoveling grapes

"Our goal is to make site driven wines that taste of place, so our wines will naturally express the unique characteristics of the vintage which allows for new and exciting favorites every year."

Many mornings are spent in the vineyards, collecting samples for analysis, tasting fruit, and monitoring the vines.

"Through our connection to the land, to the fruit, and to the season, we are able to identify different expressions of a single site and determine our blends in the vineyard before the wine ever reaches the cellar."

DuMOL Winery harvest bucket of grapes
DuMOL Winery Jaime Eufracio cleaning barrels

It’s exciting to see the quality of the grapes we achieve through months of precise viticulture and responsive farming, anticipating the quality of the finished wines.

DuMOL Winery Andy Smith harvest grape sorting

“The date we harvest a specific block in a vineyard – or the entire vineyard – is the most important decision we make all year because that sets the tone for the final wine. We’re visiting the vineyards every couple of days, focusing on the maturity of the vine – where we think the ripeness is going to go and how that translates to the final flavor in the wine. This is an ongoing process that can only be done in the field and it comes from a depth of experience and that vision of winemaking – the taste, the structure, the intensity can all be tracked back to the day of harvest.”

DuMOL Winery harvest grape bin
DuMOL Winery equipment cleaning

“It’s important to have a strong sense of vision for how you want the wine to communicate. With experience you learn how to create that roadmap from grape to bottle.”

DuMOL Winery Jenna Gargrave filling barrel

Our barrel program focuses on a handful of select artisan coopers.

DuMOL Winery Jenna Gargrave filling barrel

Each of our coopers creates a barrel with specific character, whether it’s the full bodied, masculine style of Tonnellerie Remond; the complex, savory style of Tonnellerie Chassin; the elegant, subtle details of Tonnellerie Ermitage; or the texture and depth that comes from Tonnellerie Atelier Centre France.

DuMOL Winery Jaime Eufracio bottling

For Pinot Noir we concentrate on the cool Green Valley and Sonoma Coast areas of Western Sonoma County where ridgetop soils, eastern exposures and fog-influences combine to produce grapes that are both delicate and concentrated.

DuMOL Winery Green Valley vineyards

“We are committed to Sonoma County and we farm sustainably for the long term. We support a dynamic, holistic culture of food and wine. You can’t separate the quality of the wine from the culture of the region.”

DuMOL Winery night harvest team
DuMOL Winery harvest tool

Our crew starts to harvest at 11 pm and will harvest until 7 am.

DuMOL Winery harvest tool sharpening

We harvest the grapes at night so the cool, firm fruit remains intact during its short journey to the winery.

“During élevage, the raising of the wine in the barrel, you need to know when to nudge the wine in a certain direction, and know when to let the wine evolve at its own pace. Patience is very important at this stage. We listen to what each wine needs individually instead of imposing a preconceived idea of what a particular wine should be.”

DuMOL Winery Jenna Gargrave bottling quality assurance
DuMOL Winery harvest barrel maintenance

In the winery we work in a patient, sensitive and classical manner to maintain all the natural nuances and fine details of the fruit.

DuMOL Winery harvest grape sorting

“We firmly believe that each DuMOL wine tells an original story. These stories begin in the vineyard.”

DuMOL Winery moving grape bins
DuMOL Winery bottling cases

“Winemaking is an amazing journey. Every year it’s changing and every year you go through a whole spectrum of events and hard work. Then, at the end, you have this product that is a time capsule. When you uncork it, it tells the story of everything that happened over that year, every factor in the vineyard, all that effort.”

DuMOL Winery bottling labeling

Insights & Articles A Study of Our Vineyards

“The vision of the winemaker starts in the field.”

We have the great privilege of farming small select parcels across more than two dozen very special vineyard sites.

It takes time, working with a vineyard, to discover its defining characteristics. Then, it takes even longer to use the right winemaking techniques and sensitivity to highlight those features in the wine. A lightness of touch in our winemaking allows us to achieve a more complex, multi-dimensional, “effortless” quality in our wines.

Over two decades, we’ve gained access to some truly legendary sites. And we’ve achieved close personal relationships with our growers. Our shared respect for the land, our dedication to the work, and our mutual respect for each other, carry through to the final product. We work with good people and we’re going to make some amazing wines.

From first pruning through to the day of harvest, we’re out there farming the land in a way that draws out the singularity of each parcel. We minimize our footprint in the vineyard, stay very close to the “ingredients” and let the vineyards speak for themselves.

DuMOL Winery Vineyards

Insights & Articles Highland Divide
Estate-Driven and Precisely Blended

“Highland Divide, for me, describes a very special zone that separates the valley floor of the Russian River from the Sonoma Coast. That’s really the tenderloin section of the Russian River Valley itself. I always find that we get our best grapes from this area.”

We firmly believe that each DuMOL wine tells an original story. These stories begin in the vineyard, some of which go back to the early 1980’s when our oldest vines were planted. They build upon that base with the narrative of each vintage, describing through taste, texture, and perfume the unique agricultural and climatic circumstances that we are presented with each year. The stories of our vineyard designates, cellar-worthy and beloved, end there. Each wine is molded by vintage, crafted in the vineyard, and stewarded through the winery to your table. Our Highland Divide wines however, have a different and more complex journey.

Winemaking Team

“A single-vineyard wine relies solely on the quality of fruit and the farming. That's also true in a blended wine, but a blended wine showcases the talents of the winemakers in putting pieces together and bringing out the very best of different lots.”

Blending Highland Divide

Highland Divide takes the story of vineyard and vintage a step further. It seeks to combine the stories of multiple vineyards in one vintage into a cohesive, precisely crafted blend of Estate-grown, high-density farmed fruit. The winemakers must taste through dozens of lots, small parcels of vines that each have distinctive characteristics that may add to the final product. To see the subtle changes that different vinification methods offer from one lot to the next requires experience, a keen sense of taste and smell, and more importantly, an end goal. That end goal is simple and an enormous challenge at the same time: create a product that exemplifies DuMOL’s history of making wines with clarity, depth, and elegance. A wine that tells our story.

“Year in and year out, we aim to make a Highland Divide Pinot Noir and Chardonnay that will showcase what the appellation brings as a whole. We are making wines that are from different vineyard sites that have different aspects that when put together make a very complete wine.”

When the picking, vinifying, blending and aging are complete, you have a wine that is greater than the sum of its parts, like any good story. Fruit-driven but still a classic DuMOL Estate wine, with intensity, savory elements, and a purity of flavor that is on par with any of our other bottlings. Always delicious to drink on release, but capable of extended aging if you choose. Highland Divide tells the collective story of DuMOL through vineyard, vintage, and winemaking. We hope you enjoy drinking it as much as we enjoyed making it.

Insights & ArticlesOur 2024 Fall Release

DuMOL - Our 2024 Fall Release

"For those that embrace Chardonnays and Pinots with a sense of natural grace and elegance, these 2022 DuMOLs are for you!"
- Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW, The Wine Independent

Our Fall Release opens August 6, 2024, featuring a beautiful collection of Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs from the 2022 vintage.

The 2022 harvest began with a pick for Chloe Chardonnay on August 12th, the earliest in our 28-year history. The harvest weather was gentle and mild until an unprecedented “heat-dome” event moved into the entire State on September 3rd: 110F+ for 8 days straight...chaos ensued!

Fortunately, because of the early start, we had already harvested 80% of our vineyards, so we feel grateful to have avoided the worst of this dramatic event. It’s worth highlighting that western Sonoma County’s harvest is totally different to Napa’s this year, and our wines show zero effect from the heatwave. In fact, they are an especially vibrant and lively collection.

In the cellar, I struggle to recall a vintage where the wines “put on weight” in barrel to the extent these did. Initially post-harvest the young wines were quite light and fruity. Through winter then spring they gradually deepened and broadened, revealing their natural concentration. Their respective vineyard signatures began to develop over Summer, so we gave the Pinots a second winter in barrel allowing them to evolve fully – we follow no recipe here, we react to the wines on an individual basis – if they need more time, they get it, and we delay bottling.

Overall, I consider 2022 to be an “essence of Pinot Noir” vintage. The wines are fruit-laden, supple, vibrant, and layered. There are no sharp edges that require aging - everything’s in its place. They combine approachability with classical balance between fruit, texture and structure, and this ensures they’re capable of aging positively in bottle, gaining complexity, for up to ten years. They have sneaky hidden depth that reminds me of our 2014 Pinots and that’s one of our most memorable vintages.

Similarly, the Chardonnays are generously layered and can be opened soon after release. The coastal wines are focused and acid-driven with beautiful citrus intensity. For early enjoyment I recommend Chloe for its upfront richness. There's an oiliness and deep concentration to the wines that’s especially appealing, and a distinct stylistic similarity to both our 2017s and 2019s.

What I love about this entire collection is their naturalness, their honesty and clarity of vineyard expression. Not only are they simply delicious, but they also taste of where they were grown and not our hand in the winery nor excess ripeness, and for me, that’s the essence of winegrowing, and what we strive to maximize each season. Please check the wine notes for professional reviews of each wine, from a set of critics that we respect and who visit us to taste each year.

- Andy Smith, Winegrower & Proprietor

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