2012 Harvest Party Highlight: the Winemaker

Hi everyone!

This week I’m highlighting our winemaker, David Parrish.   At the Harvest Party one of the most interesting things that guests get to enjoy is hearing about the journey of the grape from David while standing beneath the tall vines and tasting the Cabernet grapes, which are sweet by harvest.  It truly is a charming experience and it makes sense for David to lead you on this journey of the grape as he is extremely knowledgeable about grape growing and the wine process.  Here’s a bit about David (my dad)…

In his 20’s, my dad attended UC Davis where he majored in Biology and minored in Chemistry and Math.  He also found interest in winemaking, so he took several courses in that as well.  Some time after graduating, my dad was contacted by the head of the UC Davis Viticulture Department, Dr. Mark Kliewer, about a research project for different styles of trellising for wine grapes.  Now a quick side note, trellising, to put it simply, is used to help train vines (or other plants) to grow and produce more successfully.  Back to the story, so my dad worked on the project, which went very successfully.  Because of this it led to many of the commercial growers in Napa Valley, such as Robert Mondavi, requesting my dad’s expertise.  My dad started a trellising and shade house business, A&P Ag Structures, in 1976 where he installed and designed many trellises that have benefited crops for the last 36 years in the United States as well as internationally.

With his experience of putting in vineyards, my dad and mom, Lynn, decided to plant grapes on our Creston property in 1995.  This area was perfect for growing Cabernet with the warm/hot days and cool evenings.  Finally in 2004, my dad decided to go for a dream into making wine and so that year he began producing wine and collaborating with local winemakers.  In 2009, my dad and mom started to do the winemaking on their own, which was quite an achievement especially since our 2009 Reserve Wines have gotten awards.  It wasn’t until 2011 that this entire thing really took off as the family decided to open the tasting room.  With the opening, David broadened his skills to take on making other varietals beyond Cabernet as well as purchasing land to plant more grapes.  Currently, my dad is now training my husband, Ethan Ray, to do winemaking and grow grapes to pass on the knowledge and passion to our generation.

To conclude…on a personal level,  my dad is a very fun, thoughtful, honest, hard working, and passionate man, which has shown through his fatherhood.  He fought off imaginary alligators in the pool.  He played Barbies with me even despite being a manly guy.  He ate “Everything Eggs” that I would make him for breakfast that were pretty darn awful.  He has taught me the minor things in life, like how to throw a baseball, to the big things, like how to set goals and strive to meet them.  He even taught me to not be afraid…even if it meant getting back on that scary bicycle with training wheels or pursuing a bachelor’s degree in photography.  This dedication that is seen by those closest to him is also seen in everything my dad, David, ventures to do, including  the vineyard and winemaking.  I know that the awards we have received recently have been talked about greatly, but they really reflect the hard work and the love my dad has for winemaking.  It’s why we, the entire family, care because we want our wine to be quality…. something to be shared with loved ones as we have done for years.



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