Cult Winery DuMol Is Moving Into New Digs

    The exclusive DuMol wine brand is set to have a place of its own by harvest this year, the North Bay Business Journal reports.

     DuMol rose quickly from an idea by owners Michael Verlander and Kerry Murphy in the early 1990s to being poured in the White House and the U.S. embassy in Paris, as well as being invited to join the select ranks of wines offered at the Mayacama Golf Club in the hills east of Windsor, California.

     However, with 14,700 cases of mostly 2005 vintage wine released last year, DuMol has outgrown Copain Custom Crush in north Santa Rosa, where winemaker Andy Smith, a protege of A-list consulting vintner Paul Hobbs, has been making the wine.

     Though DuMol owns its own fermenting vessels and blending tanks at Copain, the logistics of working around the winemaking schedules of other brands has made the move necessary, according to Murphy. Construction started early last month on a 19,600-square-foot winery in Conde Business Park, a new 26-acre industrial park.

     Designed by architect Greg LeDoux of Cotati, the $5-10 million winery will feature four barrel rooms with different temperatures and the latest winemaking equipment.

     “It’s no longer a hobby,” Murphy said.

     The two proprietors met in 1990 when Kerry was dining in Verlander’s Walnut Creek restaurant. Kerry had been collecting wines from Burgundy since he sold the family tire business in 1987. The two men decided to start DuMol Wine Co. in 1996, focusing on Burgundy-style Pinot Noir and Chardonnay wines made from Russian River Valley fruit.

     The first year, they produced 300 cases, split evenly between each variety from Dutton Ranch. The company now makes Viognier and Syrah wines as well.

     In 2003, DuMol purchased a vineyard that helped boost production from 8,500 cases to 12,000. Though the new winery has a capacity of 20,000 cases a year, likely only about 15,000 will be produced annually, according to Murphy.

     The new winery’s location in a recently established industrial park isn’t a problem, because DuMol doesn’t need a tasting room, he said. The wine largely has sold out to collectors and fine restaurants months before the spring and fall releases. The brand’s reputation and sales grew following early high scores from well-known critic Robert Parker.

     Today, the wait list stretches into 2009 and 2010. Price ranges are $50 to $60 a bottle for Russian River Chardonnay, $60 to $80 for Pinot Noir and the mid-$50s to the mid-$80s for Syrah.

     In September 2003, DuMol was invited to be part of Mayacama Golf Club’s vintner program, which now has 31 iconic brands such as Harlan, Silver Oak, Kistler and Tor Kenward of Beringer fame.

     Vintner members contribute at least a barrel of their finest each year and provide monthly allocations to other members. Invitation-only membership in the 7-year-old club ranges from $65,000 to $250,000, and split ownership options for new homes at the course range from $650,000 to $1.5 million.

Posted in Wineries of Distinction
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