Our View from the Edge
David’s passion for winemaking came one sunny afternoon in the Dry Creek Valley. After being recruited to the University of California at Davis to play soccer and then succumbing to an ankle injury (which eventually allowed him to join the water ski team), he was trying to decide what to do with his life. His father, a local dentist in Healdsburg, took him to a winery for which one of his patients was the winemaker. He was dressed in a cowboy hat, blue jeans, and his hands were deep purple. He was crushing some local fruit, drinking beer out of a can, and country music was playing in the background. He changed David’s perspective on what winemaking was like and could be. After this experience, David changed his degree from Anthropology to Viticulture and Enology. The idea that a bottle of wine encompassed so many different aspects of science, art, history, and philosophy added fuel to his passion: soil science, meteorology, biochemistry, and sensory science were all fascinating.
Before graduating from U.C. Davis, David worked on a salmon boat in Alaska for two summers and was a lift operator at Alpine Meadows one season and then a Squaw Valley guest services rep the next (for the free pass). As graduation loomed, he became more enticed by winemaking and traveled to South Australia for his first harvest and then worked a second harvest the same year at Ferrari-Carano. After receiving a degree in Viticulture and Enology, David moved to Santa Cruz and became the Enologist at Clos LaChance Winery; surfing in mornings and evenings and learning how to perfect wine during the day. Eventually, David returned home to Healdsburg and started a Consulting Winemaking business for local wineries. After meeting Peter Merriam, he realized there was a niche he could fill at Merriam Vineyards taking care of the day to day winemaking activities and watching over the wines. He is very happy to work with some of the best Bordeaux and Burgundy vineyards in Sonoma County.
David and his two children, Madeleine and James, escape from the heart of the Russian River Valley on West Dry Creek where there are rarely pinot noir vines spotted. The three enjoy bike riding, soccer, camping, fishing trips, and playing Vikings. The newest addition: Ruby is a young Norwegian Buhund who is just starting out in the wine business but shows great promise.