The History of Dashe Cellars
In 1996, the husband and wife winemaking team of Michael and Anne Dashe founded Dashe Cellars. Focused on crafting exceptional single-vineyard wines, Dashe Cellars blends the two winemaker’s combined 40-plus years of experience at such noted wineries as Château Lafite-Rothschild, Château La Dominique, Ridge Vineyards, Cloudy Bay, Far Niente, Chappellet, and Schramsberg Wine Cellars. Drawing on this wealth of experience, the Dashes create vineyard-focused wines that capture the complexity and character of top vineyards throughout Sonoma County and beyond.
Anne and Michael met in 1994. Sharing a wealth of personal and professional interests, the couple spoke early in their relationship about the prospect of founding a winery. With complementary advanced degrees in enology from the University of Bordeaux and the University of California at Davis, they knew their combined backgrounds could form the foundation for something special. In 1996, Michael and Anne were married. That same year they founded Dashe Cellars, and produced their inaugural 1996 Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel. For the wine’s label, they chose a playful image featuring a monkey riding on the back of a fish, a metaphor for two unique creatures traveling together on a journey.
At Dashe Cellars, Michael and Anne are committed to creating wines that reflect the unique soil, climate and regional characteristics of world-class vineyards. Focusing on older vines, steep hillside locations, rocky soils and stressful growing conditions, they work closely with their growers to ensure careful vineyard management and low yields. With specific blocks set aside under long-term contract, Michael and Anne make the harvesting decisions for every vineyard.
Although known for its exceptional single-vineyard zinfandels, the Dashe Cellars portfolio also includes excellent grenache, cabernet sauvignon, petite sirah and riesling. To create these wines, Michael applies traditional and “natural” winemaking techniques, including small-lot fermentation, the use of indigenous yeasts, and little-or-no fining or filtration. To moderate oak influence, the winery’s barrel program incorporates large-format oak vessels including 900-gallon foudres and 120-gallon puncheons, as well as older traditional French barrels. During blending, Michael and Anne work side-by-side to achieve a sophisticated and engaging synthesis of French and American winemaking.
Building on the gentle, authentic winemaking approach that has helped to define Dashe Cellars since its inception, Michael and Anne extended the boundaries of their natural winemaking philosophies with the creation of their first Les Enfants Terribles wine in 2007. Wines in the acclaimed Les Enfants Terribles series are made from special vineyards—often organic, biodynamic, or sustainably farmed—and are created in a more classic “Old World” style, spotlighting the delicacy that comes from cooler climates, lower alcohols, the judicious use of oak, and minimal handling.
With a state-of-the-art winery located just off historic Jack London Square in downtown Oakland, Dashe Cellars is recognized as one of the pioneers of the Bay Area urban winemaking movement. In keeping with a belief in utilizing hands-on, artisan methods, current production for Dashe Cellars is approximately 10,000 cases.