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Dry Creek Vineyard Introduces New Winemaker Tim Bell

Posted on April 04, 2012

Dry Creek Vineyard, a second generation family owned winery in the heart of Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma County has appointed Tim Bell as its new winemaker.

Bell will lead a dedicated winemaking team solidifying Dry Creek Vineyard’s reputation as the preeminent producer of Fumé Blanc, Zinfandel and Cabernet-based blends in Sonoma County. “This was an exhaustive search,” comments winery President, Kim Stare Wallace. “Our winery has prided itself on consistency of style and that is evident as Tim is just our fifth winemaker in 40 years. That being said, he is the perfect fit for our family winery. Tim has exacting standards and a thorough understanding of our vision for the winery. He also has a unique ability to connect with people -- he is affable and kind, humble and honest. Tim possesses the character and integrity we desire in becoming not just our winemaker but also a brand ambassador for the winery.”

Bell is a graduate of the University of California at Davis where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree, with honors, in Viticulture and Enology in 1994. His first full time winemaking job was at Arroyo Seco in San Martin, CA. According to Tim, this was his boot camp training for the wine industry. “During harvest we sometimes worked 20 hour days,” comments Bell. “It was great training and I’ve never been so tired in my whole life!” After a decade at Freemark Abbey in Napa Valley and five years at Kunde Family Estate in Sonoma Valley, Bell joined Dry Creek Vineyard just before the 2011 harvest. Working side by side with the winery’s former winemaker, Bill Knuttel, gave Bell the chance to get to know the winery’s estate vineyards and grower partners. “I appreciated the smooth transition during last year’s harvest as it gave me an opportunity to sink my teeth into the finer details of vineyard management and cellar practices,” says Bell.

Bell’s first release also happens to be the winery’s flagship varietal, Fumé Blanc. Officially released to the trade in March, the 2011 Fumé Blanc continues to represent the classic house style of fresh citrus and underlying mineral characters. “I love making Sauvignon Blanc and this is one of the iconic wines from California,” comments Bell. “The old adage of, if it ain’t broke, no need to fix it, certainly applies with this wine. Just cold, slow, stainless steel fermentation with an emphasis on varietal integrity and freshness. The quality of our vineyards truly make this wine special. It’s straightforward and delicious!”

Looking ahead, Bell is completely in sync with Dry Creek Vineyard’s style of winemaking and the family’s business vision. “What I appreciated about Kim, Dave and Don throughout the interview process was their passion to produce the highest quality wines possible. I am on board with this philosophy and I see only great things for the winery going forward.”

Established in 1972, Dry Creek Vineyard is Dry Creek Valley’s flagship winery located in the heart of Sonoma County, California. As the region’s first new winery following Prohibition, founder David Stare paved the way for a viticultural rebirth in this vibrant winegrowing appellation. Among other industry benchmarks, Dry Creek Vineyard is recognized as the first winery to plant Sauvignon Blanc in the Dry Creek Valley. A pioneer of Bordeaux-style blending, the winery was also the first to use the term Meritage with the 1985 vintage and the first to coin the term “Old Vine” to describe pre-Prohibition era Zinfandel vineyards.

Today, the winery is led by the second generation. Dave’s daughter, Kim Stare Wallace, serves as President overseeing a successful family winemaking and grape growing business. Dry Creek Vineyard proudly produces delicious Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc, Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon and Meritage blends as well as a handful of single vineyard selections. 2012 marks 40 years of winemaking for one of California’s premier family owned wineries.

Job Function: Winemaking

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