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Dehlinger Winery is located in the heart of its 45 acre vineyard on a ridge of red gravelly soil in Sonoma County's cool Russian River Valley. The alternating influences of California sun and fog from the Pacific Ocean 13 miles to the West create a hybrid climate favorable for hillside grape growing. Started by Davis-trained enologist Tom Dehlinger with the planting of the initial 14 acres of vineyard in 1975, the first vintages were made from purchased Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Zinfandel grapes from other Sonoma County vineyards. From the start, the emphasis has been on small amounts of hand-worked, barrel-aged wines made with the aim of extracting, developing, and preserving the maximum flavor from the grapes.
With the passage of time and the planting and maturing of all of our available acreage, the focus is now entirely on Estate Grown wines. Annual production averages 7000 cases. Wines produced are Estate Bottled Chardonnay, Pinot noir, Syrah, and Cabernet Sauvignon. A portion of the grapes are actually sold to other wineries. The majority of the wine is purchased through the winery's mailing list.
Dehlinger Winery is more interested in perfection of technique and the balance and intensity of flavors than in making large amounts of wine. Each small part of the vineyard is thinned, harvested and fermented as an individual in order to monitor the unique qualities of its wine. The growing techniques of pruning, canopy management, and thinning are adjusted to bring out the potential of each piece of soil. The entire vineyard has been retrained to a split-canopy, vertical shoot-positioned trellis system which allows for superior light penetration to the fruiting zone and systematic hand care of the vines. Our crushing equipment allows for very gentle handling of the grapes.
Besides owner-operators Tom and Carole Dehlinger, the staff includes veteran vineyard manager Martin Hedlund and a year-round vineyard crew of five. Four to six additional vineyard workers are employed seasonally from budbreak through harvest. Ken Brandt works as a part-time cellarman and mechanic during harvest, its aftermath, and at bottling. In June of 2008 daughters Carmen and Eva Dehlinger came back to Sonoma County to work at the family business: Carmen in customer service and sales, Eva in winery operations.
Dehlinger Winery has a national reputation among wine connoisseurs that outstrips its physical size. Critical publications have consistently given strong reviews over thirty years. Wine writers have praised the winery for its uniqueness, quality, consistency and value. The winery engages in no expensive promotion or publicity so that prices remain reasonable. We offer private tasting and tours of the facility by appointment only on Fridays, excluding during the harvest season.