Santa Barbara Wine Pioneer, Daniel J. Gainey, Passes Away at 89
January 13, 2015
Towards the end of his life, few things gave Daniel J. Gainey more pleasure than attending the family’s eponymously named vineyard on Farmer’s Market Days. Held seasonally on the winery grounds, Dan could be seen in his wheel chair, smiling at passersby as they shopped for local produce and artists' wares while children played on the expansive lawn near the winery’s tasting room.
His son, Dan H., who since 1996 has overseen daily operations at the winery adds, “Dad loved the country life. He loved his horses and our family ranch. But nothing made him happier than watching others enjoy themselves. He loved seeing people at the winery, relaxing and drinking a glass of our wine. That always brought a smile to his face.”
Born October 19, 1925 in Owatonna, Minnesota, Mr. Gainey attended Shattuck Military Academy, graduating in 1943 and went on to attend Carleton College where he graduated in 1949. Mr. Gainey earned a Master’s degree in Geology from the University of Minnesota in 1951. During WWII, he served in the Merchant Marines on an ammunition carrier where he saw duty at Leyte, Kerama Retta and Okinawa. During the Korean War, Mr. Gainey served in the headquarters of a landing ship flotilla for the United States Naval Reserve. Later he served with the Foreign Aide Administration in Washington DC.
Mr. Gainey went on to work for Jostens, an educational products company founded by his father, for 33 years in a variety of executive positions.
Mr. Gainey purchased what is today known as the Gainey Ranch in 1962. Located in the Santa Ynez Valley, the Gainey Ranch includes an estate vineyard, a commercial hay operation and sprawling sustainably and organically farmed gardens. He founded the winery in 1984, blazing a trail for many winegrowers to come. His son, Dan, joined the family business in 1985. For decades, Gainey Vineyard has been recognized for their estate Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays from Sta. Rita Hills and their Bordeaux variety wines from their estate in the Santa Ynez Valley appellation of Santa Barbara County.
Mr. Gainey was adored by his 7 children and 11 grandchildren. He had a love for life, adventure, friends and family. He passed December 29th, 2014.