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Davis Bynum Hedin Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 1999
In 1971, Davis acquired vineyard land in the Napa Valley, near St. Helena. After unsuccess-fully attempting to build a winery on the property in 1973 (due to a moratorium on new winery construction by the Napa county planning commission), the Bynum Family -- Davis' wife Dorothy, son Hampton and daughter Susan -- purchased the 83-acre River Bend Ranch in the Russian River Valley in Sonoma County. On the property was a 1950's hop kiln which the Bynum Family converted into the winery and permanent home. "A friend convinced us to come over to the Russian River Valley. You can grow better grapes there anyway," Bynum chuckled.
In the first few years of operation at the new winery, grapes were hauled over from Napa and crushed along with local Russian River Valley fruit. This ended when the Napa property was sold off in 1976. During this period, the Bynum Family made their first pinot noir -- the 1973 Davis Bynum Pinot Noir from the Rochioli Vineyard was the first ever pinot to carry a Russian River designation.
Today, Davis Bynum Winery crushes about 250 to 275 ton of grapes annually (which makes about 15,000 cases of wine), bottling premium varietals under the Davis Bynum label. It is still family oriented: Davis oversees the vineyards and finances, though he now leaves winemaking decisions in the capable hands of Gary Farrell. His son, Hampton, oversees the daily operations at the winery as well as sales, and is responsible for product development. During harvest, Hampton helps with winemaking. Dorothy, Davis' wife, oversees the landscaping and a building improvement program.
A major force on the global playing field, California is the world’s fourth largest wine-producing region on the planet and the majority of land under vine here is devoted to red varieties—they cover nearly double the vineyard acreage compared to whites.
While the state’s incredibly diverse terrain and microclimates allow for countless red wine styles, the one factor unifying all California red wine is the abundance of sunshine and a long, consistent growing season, which leads to well-developed and fully ripened fruit.
Sonoma County, nestled between Napa Valley and the Pacific Ocean, claims great variability in geography and microclimates with vineyards climbing up mountains, reaching far into valleys and stretching along some the state’s most dramatic coastlines. Here world-class Pinot Noir is possible from Sonoma’s cooler sites while Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon do well in its warmer locations.
Winemaking in California dates back to the 18th century when Spanish missionaries planted the first wine grapes. But the industry experienced its first boom with the Gold Rush in the last half of the 19th century when miners brought vines to the Sierra Foothills.