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NM: Okay, so you've explained the scientific basis justifying your decisions not to filter. But given the option, to you, what is the artisanal incentive in favor of not filtering?
KD: I nominate a wine to be unfiltered if we want it to be maybe a little chunkier. Usually when you take a wine to bottle unfiltered, it will take on its life a bit of an earthy character, versus if it were [clear and] bright. I'm not sure what, kinetically, is going on. In that case, it's likely not microbiological. But there's just something kinetically, where the wines take on a more earthy character. So, now that I've said that, and knowing that our Proprietor's Reserve Zinfandel is a blend of different varieties, I think it's a good wine to take that risk [of not filtering] with; a bit of that organic substrate might be interesting!
Customers of the Crossing
NM: I've heard quite a bit on the Damskey Technique, what I'll call the 'Mathy Hospitality,' and the synergy between you in expressing the uniqueness of Dry Creek Valley in the wines that you craft. In closing, whom do you see most likely to truly appreciate these wines? How would you describe the customer who responds best to your overall approach?
DM: We hit big with people who like to explore different areas in new wines. Most days, customers will see me here [in and around the tasting room], and then Kerry often walks in. So they have a better understanding of our wines, because we get to be hands-on and get into their ears and minds. We have really outgoing, adventurous consumers that like to explore. We get emails from them that say things like, "I tried the Maple Zin with this, this, and this. You really need to tell our fellow [wine] club members that it goes great with this!" They want to be a part of it, they want to be part of having other people enjoy our wines. To be honest with you, Kerry and I get the fun part of talking with people, and find that all our consumers tend to be ambassadors for us. They want to be spokesmen and turn people onto our wines, and have them experience and be adventurous with them as well. We don't get shy customers or people who tend to be new around wine. As a whole, typically our demographic has been in the 42-60 year old range, a lot of which has been a carryover from the older ownership. Now, with the growth in our wine club, the demographic there is in the 25-32 year old range. We hear people saying, "We want something that no one else has; we want to be the first to discover that." The younger generation is less safe.
Young or old, seasoned or not, the wines of Dutcher Crossing offer a unique opportunity for the wine drinker seeking to taste the Dry Creek Valley experience. To learn more about these wines and how to get them, visit Dutcher Crossing Winery online.