Wines & Vines Home
   
 
Welcome Guest
LOGIN |  CREATE ACCOUNT
 
ADVERTISEMENT
 
 
 
08.12.2013  
 

Donum Estate Replants and Expands

Pinot Noir winery in Carneros acquires adjacent 40-acre parcel

 
by Andrew Adams
 
 
donum estate
 
Anne Moller-Racke has overseen the Donum Estate vineyard since 2001.
Sonoma, Calif.—More than a decade ago, when Anne Moller-Racke set about turning what had been part of the old Buena Vista ranch into an estate dedicated to Pinot Noir, she used a variety of clones to build the wine in the vineyard.

She planted clones for aromatics, certain flavors and structure thinking of the final blend. Today, Moller-Racke said that while clone selection is important, understanding the dynamics of a particular vineyard site is even more crucial.

She has tended the vines at the Donum Estate in the Carneros AVA for more than a decade and has worked in vineyard development and management in Carneros for 30 years. “I think site is way more important than anything else,” she said. “I think site is the driving part.”

A dozen years
Moller-Racke has overseen the Donum property since 2001, when the German firm Racke, which is owned by her ex-husband’s family, retained a 147-acre property after selling Buena Vista Winery to Allied Domecq. In December of 2011, Racke sold the estate to Winside Inc., an investment group comprised of a small set of Danish partners.

Moller-Racke remains Donum’s president and winegrower, and the winemaker is Dan Fishman, who came to the winery as an intern and trained for several harvests under former winemaker Kenneth Juhasz, who still consults at the winery.

Prior to selling to Winside, Donum contracted the 20-acre Angel Camp vineyard in Mendocino County’s Anderson Valley in 2011, and in December of 2012 the winery acquired a 16-acre Russian River vineyard.

At the end of July the winery closed on a 40-acre parcel adjacent to the Carneros estate. Moller-Racke said she is working on a plan to plant the property based on the insights she’s gained tending the estate. “I’m really looking forward to putting this together,” she said.

Choosing clones
Much of the site will be planted with the Roederer clone that already accounts for many of Donum’s most critically acclaimed wines such as its “Westslope” vineyard-designate Pinot Noir. Donum’s Roederer clone, however, is a massal selection cultivated through Hermann J. Wiemer Nursery in New York and called the Donum Selection.

This past spring, Moller-Racke replanted 14.5 acres of the Carneros estate. The 11 acres of Pinot Noir are planted with Pommard, Calera, 2A and 667, and there are two acres of Wente-clone Chardonnay.

The Donum Selection accounts for about one-third of the estate’s productive vines, but taking into account the vines replanted this year its share in the future will only be about a quarter. “This selection will always be one of our main selections, Calera being a close second.”

Moller-Racke said her experience taught her the Donum Selection performed consistently better on the flat areas or west-facing slopes rather than on the east, which ran counter to her initial expectation. She also learned that Pommard does better than she had originally thought, but 115 has not been ideal at the estate.

Producing wine
Donum’s annual production is around 3,000 cases, but the winery’s second label, Robert Stemmler, accounts for 6,000. All the wine is made at the custom-crush winery Punchdown Cellars in Santa Rosa, Calif.

The new property also came with a winery permit, so Moller-Racke said an estate winery could well be on the horizon.

She said working with the new owners has been a pleasure because they sincerely enjoy wine. “They keep telling me, ‘Anne, it needs to be a fun project.’”

A partnership
Moller-Racke met two of the partners, Trond Fredheim and Daniel Aaxman, when they were visiting the area as guests of Jean Charles Boisset. Fredheim and Aaxman would go on to purchase the Donum lot in the 2007 Hospice of Sonoma wine auction and would become friends with Moller-Racke.

Boisset purchased the historic Buena Vista Winery in the city of Sonoma in 2011.

Moller-Racke said the owners are hands-off when it comes to viticulture and winemaking but have provided some direction and input on sales strategy.

In the vineyard, Moller-Racke said she applies slightly different approaches to each property to achieve the common goal of balance and uniform ripeness. She said she prefers an east-west orientation of the rows in Carneros to take advantage of the prevailing winds as well as pull leaves on the north side for a little more sun exposure. The extra ventilation protects against disease and the added sunlight toughens the grape skins, she said.

That strategy proved successful in 2011, when Moller-Racke was able to produce a Pinot Noir from the Carneros estate that is showing quite well. She recalled calling off a pick in October and waiting through the first rainstorm that month. She picked before the second October rainstorm, which was followed with slightly higher temperatures and more humidity.

While the grapes needed some extensive sorting in the vineyard and at the winery, she believes the lengthy ripening season of 2011 may have created wines that will ultimately be quite enjoyable. “It was in many ways so perfect,” she said. “This may really be surprising us in 10 years when we open the bottle, how well it’s holding up. … I think our ’11 is a beautiful wine for what the vintage gave us.”

SHARE »
Close
 
Currently no comments posted for this article.
 
CURRENT NEWS INDEX »


 
Wines & Vines Home
 
866.453.9701 | 415.453.9700 | Fax: 415.453.2517
65 Mitchell Blvd., Ste. A San Rafael, CA 94903
info@winesandvines.com
Wine Industry Metrics
 
Off-Premise Sales » Month   12 Months  
October 2014 $570 million
6%
$7,775 million
6%
October 2013 $539 million $7,342 million
     
Direct-to-Consumer Shipments » Month   12 Months  
October 2014 $284 million
18%
$1,751 million
13%
October 2013 $240 million $1,556 million
     
Winery Job Index » Month   12 Months  
October 2014 139
6%
226
18%
October 2013 131 192
     
 
MORE » Released on 11.13.2014
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 
 

Practical Winery & Vineyard Library
 
Search the PWV archive »
 
 

Direct To Consumer
Wine Shipping Report
2014
 
Download full report »
 
 

CALENDAR
  • December 2-4
     
    Vinitech Sifel in Bordeaux
     
  • December 3
     
    Sustainable/Organic Wine Production Seminar
     
  • December 4
     
    North Coast Wine Industry Expo
     
  • December 6-7
     
    Wine Chemistry Workshop in Oregon
     
  • MORE »
 

READER COMMENTS
 
Article: Kluge Saga Continues in Virginia »
 
Not everybody likes Pat Kluge, but she and Moses built a first class winery /...
Reader: Josh Moser
 
Article: Canada Adapts to Kegged Wines »
 
I am a wine agent in Manitoba & there certainly are kegs of cider here....
Reader: Guest
 
Article: What's Your Winery's IP Worth? »
 
If you would like more information on this seminar please visit The Seminar Group's website....
Reader: Danielle Bingham
 
Article: DtC Is Lifeblood of Wineries, Banker Says »
 
Seems like another locical option would be to have more small niche distrbutors. Consolidation of...
Reader: Guest
 
Article: Tasting Wine From PD-Resistant Grapes »
 
Congratulations Andy! Lots of grapebreeders and southern growers will be looking through the catalogs. i...
Reader: Guest
 
 


Directory/Buyer's Guide — Your Wine Industry Marketplace
 
 
WINERY SEARCH
 
 
Advanced Search »
SUPPLIER SEARCH
   by Product
 by Company Name or Brand
 
Browse by Category »
2015 Directory/Buyer's Guide
The Wines & Vines Directory and Buyer's Guide
 
 
EXPANDED ONLINE SEARCH INCLUDED WITH PURCHASE
 
ORDER NOW »
 
LEARN MORE »
 
 
Wines & Vines Magazine
 
 
LEARN MORE »
 
SUBSCRIBE »
 
Digital Edition Now Available!
Wines & Vines Digital Edition Now Available
 
LEARN MORE »
 
ORDER NOW »
 
 
The Wines & Vines Online Marketing System
 
The Industry Standard winery marketing application
 
FREE LIVE DEMO »
 
VIEW VIDEO »
 
 
 
 
Latest Job Listings
 Cellar Club Coordinato...
 Dundee, OR
DTC, Tasting Room and Retai
 Customer Service & Rel...
 Healdsburg, CA
DTC, Tasting Room and Retai
 Brand Manager
 Woodland Hills, CA
Sales and Marketing
 Senior Vineyard Manage...
 Rutherford, CA
Vineyards
 Brand Director, Austra...
 Napa, CA
Sales and Marketing
 Sales Representative O...
 Sacramento, CA
Sales and Marketing
 Production Forklift Op...
 Yountville, CA
Winemaking and Production
 Project Manager
 Santa Maria, CA
Sales and Marketing
 Wine Salesperon
 Bay Head, NJ
Sales and Marketing
 Communications Special...
 St. Helena, CA
Sales and Marketing
 
More Job Listings >>
Follow Us On:
 
 





Home  |  About Us  |  Editors  |  Subscribe  |  Print Edition  |  Digital Edition

Advertise  |  Site Map  |  Contact Us  |  Privacy Policy
 
 
Copyright © 2001-2014 by Wine Communications Group, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
No material may be reproduced without written permission of the Publisher.
Wines&Vines does not assume any responsibility for any unsolicited manuscripts or materials.