“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”
– Mary Oliver, Poet
That question, and the answer to it, lies at the heart of DOGFARM Estate. It is the question Bridget and Gan Dunnington asked themselves when they moved their young family to Napa Valley to find an alternative to the frenetic pace of city life. It is what inspired Katie and Russell Yates to join the Dunningtons to bring their collective dream of producing a Napa Valley wine to fruition.
When Bridget and Gan Dunnington purchased the St. Helena property that would become known as DOGFARM, creating a wine brand was not uppermost in their minds. They’d visited Napa Valley for years, gradually gaining appreciation and respect for the wine, the people and the land. But living here greatly deepened that appreciation, and in 2017 they decided to plant two of their six acres to Cabernet Sauvignon.
“It was a gradual evolution in our thinking. Lucky enough to live here, we absorbed the attributes that make Napa Valley unique and special. When we got to know this land and property, planting wine grapes became the natural next step.” – Bridget Dunnington
As the vines grew, the question naturally arose as to who would make the wine. The Dunningtons, with their close friends and cohorts Katie and Russell Yates, interviewed several candidates. When they met Maayan Koschitzky, the acclaimed director of winemaking at Atelier Melka and proprietor of La Pelle Wines, the connection was immediate.
“It was kismet meeting Maayan. His winemaking qualifications are extraordinary, but it is his passion and humor, his utter joy in making and drinking delicious wine, that draws us to him. It was the beginning of a beautiful friendship.” – Katie Yates
Sandwiched between the St. Helena and Howell Mountain appellations, DOGFARM Estate sits at an elevation of 800 feet above the Napa Valley floor. Our neighborhood boasts some of Napa’s most prestigious vineyards and names in wine – Thorevilos, Seven Stones, Herb Lamb – and DOGFARM, virgin land until we planted it in 2017, is tucked in between all of them. Against a backdrop of soaring pines and California redwoods, the site is divided into three small blocks, two on northeast-facing slopes and one at a slightly higher elevation that is flat. The soils are a mixture of white tufa and sedimentary rock, and we chose Cabernet Clones 4 and 30 to match these varied compositions.
Although we did not originate the phrase, living spree is the philosophy we embrace at DOGFARM. We delight in the boundless experiences of life and endeavor to soak up each moment and opportunity that comes our way. That’s why we started DOGFARM, a project that celebrates our families’ belief that wine should be fun as well as a vehicle for authentic connection and a life well-lived.
“There’s nothing like the magic that happens when people share a bottle of wine while swapping stories, ideas, hopes and dreams. Life is for living and these are the moments that fill one’s heart, mind and memory.” – Russell Yates
At DOGFARM, our mission is to perpetuate these moments by sharing the genuine excellence the Napa Valley landscape delivers. Our hope is that our living spree encourages you to delight in and savor each experience your life offers.
“Dogs are not unlike grapevines. They need care and attention day in and day out. They’re with you for an entire lifespan. And they give back so much.” – Gan Dunnington
DOGFARM is so named because of the English Labrador Retrievers that make their home on the property. Bridget and Gan fell in love with the breed early in their marriage, so much so that eventually they decided to become breeders themselves, not as a business, but for the joy of raising these endearing animals. Dunnington dogs are given away, never sold, and can be found in homes all over Napa Valley and beyond. Katie and Russell have one, as does Maayan and several of his friends. Needless to say, the greeting committee at DOGFARM includes a small pack of these loving, energetic canines.