The rolling hills of a former cattle ranch outside the town of Hollister in San Benito County are now planted to Pinot Noir. The Dyson’s believe this is “a very special area for Pinot Noir and aromatic white wine.” John states that the key attributes are climate and soil: a long, cool growing season and rock, gravel and pebbles, laced with calcium carbonate lenses and a lot of lime, promoting good drainage. This vineyard continues to deliver exceptional quality Pinot Noir worthy of the Williams Selyem vineyard designation.
Directly east of better-known Monterey County, on the other side of the Gavilan Mountains, San Benito County boasts four recognized AVAs (Cienega Valley, Paicines, Lime Kiln Valley and Mt. Harlan). This complex maze of mountains, canyons and valleys, some running east-west rather than north-south, channels substantial marine influence into San Benito from the Pacific Ocean, only 20-30 miles away. The most attentive care is given to this vineyard to produce stellar Pinot Noir. The restrictive rootstock used ensures the maximum ripeness and flavor development.
Owner John Dyson’s interest in wine goes way back to his days at Cornell’s College of Agriculture when, never keen on beer, he bought a jug of wine to impress a date at his fraternity’s party. This led to a lifelong interest in wines and his enrollment in a wine course at Cornell’s famed hotel school.
Besides being our proprietor, John has also had a successful career in government and business beyond grapes and wine. He was a Deputy Mayor with Rudolph Giuliani and returned to work with him full time after the events of September 11, 2001. Before that, he was a cabinet officer in New York State, holding the positions of Commissioner of Agriculture, Commissioner of Commerce and Chairman of the New York Power Authority. He also developed the “I Love NY” advertising campaign for the state.
John has built several distribution and manufacturing companies over the years with his partners. They also manage an investment fund based in New York.
John received his BS in Agricultural Economics from Cornell and a Masters in Public Affairs from Princeton. Kathe, a Toledo, Ohio native, got her BA in Political Science from the University of Wisconsin in Madison. John and Kathe are active in various charitable organizations.
The Dysons have two grown daughters, Leigh and Eliza, and four grandchildren. Leigh is the proud mother of Caroline, Henry, and Susanna, and Eliza is the mother of their newest addition, Charlie.
|Clones:||Bruce, Pommard, Calera and Dijon clones|
|Number of acres:||12 acres|
|Elevation:||700 – 1000 feet|
|Soil type :||Well drained gravelly loams, with severe limestone fractures|
|Trellising:||Smart Dyson and bilateral cordon|
|Cover crop :||Native grasses, including oats and rye|