Winery First Date Inspires Couple’s Foray into Winemaking
Can a California gal turned European supermodel find post-career bliss farming mountain grapes with her businessman husband? For Marcie and Tom Dinkel, the answer is a resounding yes. Since 2007 the two have grown Cabernet on their 22-acre Atlas Peak estate, selling two-thirds of the fruit to a major winery, reserving the remainder for their well-regarded Dos Lagos Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon. Marcie, who grew up in Northern California, headed to Paris in the mid-1970s less than a year after being discovered by the Wilhelmina Agency. As ‘Marcie Hunt,’ she appeared on nearly 100 European magazine covers—Elle, Marie Claire, Tattler, and British and French Vogue among them.
In the early 1990s, after she’d retired from modeling, Marcie met Tom, who whisked her up Mt. Veeder to The Hess Collection on their first date. They were moved by founder Donald Hess’s story and made a goal of owning their own vine- yards one day.
From 2007 to 2015, Robert Foley, the founding winemaker of Markham, Pride, and his eponymous label, crafted Dos Lagos Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon. Though known as a master blender, Foley surprised the Dinkels by suggesting they produce a single vineyard, 100% Estate Cabernet. “He told us there was nothing he could do to make the wine any better, nothing he needed to boost, support, or enhance with other varietals.”
Kent Jarman (Kenefick Ranch, Coup de Foudre, Joseph Kent) has taken the winemaking reins for Dos Lagos and is continuing with their unique barrel program: for the first year the wine ages in neutral barrels before being put in new French oak for the remainder of its time before bottling.
The other constant with Dos Lagos Vineyards is the commitment to sustainable farming. “When vineyard manager Hector Lopez first started working with us, our request was simple,” Tom said. “Don’t do anything in the vineyards that would harm frogs or bees.” The vineyards have been Glyphosate-free for over a decade, and the Dinkels have urged neighboring growers to adopt a similar sustainable no-Glyphosate approach.
How good is the resulting wine? Writing in the St. Helena Star, columnist Catherine Bugue, the director of education at the Napa Valley Wine Academy, compared the estate Cabernet favorably to Harlan, BOND, Screaming Eagle, and other cult wines.
“As soon as I put this Dos Lagos 2015 to my lips,” she wrote, “I knew there was a new player in town.”
Marcie, whose creativity extends to painting, comes up with a new label for each Dos Lagos vintage and varietal, including the recently added Sauvignon Blanc and a separate Cabernet blend. A few local outlets carry the wines, but most are sold directly through allocation.
DOS LAGOS VINEYARDS
Article By: Daniel Mangin