“DOGFARM is a happy place, with people who are committed to each other, to the community and to making great wine. Like all of my projects, DOGFARM has developed into a personal relationship.”
– Maayan Koschitzky
When the owners of DOGFARM, Bridget and Gan Dunnington and Katie and Russell Yates were interviewing winemakers in 2018, they knew they had found the right person for the role in Maayan Koschitzky, the acclaimed director of winemaking at Atelier Melka and proprietor of La Pelle Wines. With Cabernet vines little more than twelve months in the ground, DOGFARM was at least two years away from making wine. Probably more. Never one to rush a good thing, Maayan was the one who gave it to them straight.
“You don’t need a winemaker now. Call me in a couple years when the vines are ready.”
With a full-time job and his own wine project, Maayan is selective and does not take on many new clients. But DOGFARM, and the people behind it, intrigued him. First of all, the estate vineyard, occupying a small valley between the St. Helena and Howell Mountain AVAs, is a region he knows well; he understands its pedigree and potential. And, as important, he feels a strong connection with the Dunningtons and Yates, with whom he has formed a friendship.
A native of Israel, Maayan served as a paratrooper in the Israel Defense Forces and studied engineering prior to spending seven years at some of the most prestigious wineries in Israel. In 2011, Maayan moved to Napa Valley where he gained recognition working at cult producers Screaming Eagle and Dalla Valle. He joined Atelier Melka in 2014 where he was named director of winemaking in 2016, working with the internationally recognized winemaker, Phillipe Melka. His own brand, La Pelle Wines, was established in 2016.