Hello,

We noticed you're browsing in private or incognito mode.

To continue reading this article, please exit incognito mode or log in.

Not an Insider? Subscribe now for unlimited access to online articles.

David Stare ’62

Building a new winemaking tradition.

David Stare’s first professional love was railroads. In the early days of his career, he worked for the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad after earning a bachelor’s degree in civil and environmental engineering at MIT and an MBA at Northwestern. He found his second love when he worked for a steel company in Germany. And it was winemaking.

David Stare
David Stare gets a hug from a village elder in Ng’iresi, ­Tanzania, in thanks for supporting the construction of a water storage tank.

His personal interest in wines sharpened as he visited nearby vineyards. Initially set on establishing a vineyard in France, he read about the nascent wine industry in California and soon changed his goal. In 1969 he returned to the Boston area, where he had grown up, and in 1971 he moved to Northern California. There he began taking classes at UC Davis in viticulture (the scientific principles that underlie growing grapes) and enology (the science of wine and winemaking). Soon he bought a 70-acre prune orchard in Sonoma County that became the foundation for his company, Dry Creek Vineyard. Over the decades, he has helped revive winemaking in north Sonoma with bold grape choices and finely nuanced French-style varietals and blends.

MIT News cover
This story is part of the July/August 2014 Issue of the MIT News magazine
See the rest of the issue
Subscribe

One of Stare’s first big decisions at Dry Creek was choosing which grape varieties to plant. While local experts warned him away from sauvignon blanc, he had been inspired by the Loire Valley and wanted to grow its native grape. “I went ahead and planted it, and it turned out to be a great idea,” he says. “It’s still our flagship wine.”

Part of winemaking is science—testing ripe grapes for acidity and sugar levels—and part is craft. “The subjective part is how the grapes taste and look on the vine,” Stare says. Although he did the testing and tasting in the early years, he soon turned to the business and marketing side. “I’m a very people-oriented person, and I enjoy producing a product that is meant to be enjoyed,” he says.

Stare’s daughter Kim now runs the Dry Creek operation. Another daughter, Romy, lives in Austin, Texas.

Stare and his wife, Lee, who live in Santa Rosa, are on to new adventures. They support Global Partners for Development, a nonprofit that promotes education, health, clean water, and economic self-reliance in East African communities. Earlier this year they visited Uganda to meet the three high-school-age girls they sponsor through the organization. In his spare time back home, Stare has rekindled an early love of music and plays banjo and trombone in local bands. “You’ve got to have some fun,” he says. And since he enjoyed his 50th MIT reunion two years ago so much, he’s looking forward to returning for his 55th.

Be the leader your company needs. Implement ethical AI.
Join us at EmTech Digital 2019.

Register now
Next in MIT News
Want more award-winning journalism? Subscribe to Insider Plus.
  • Insider Plus {! insider.prices.plus !}*

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    Everything included in Insider Basic, plus the digital magazine, extensive archive, ad-free web experience, and discounts to partner offerings and MIT Technology Review events.

    See details+

    Print + Digital Magazine (6 bi-monthly issues)

    Unlimited online access including all articles, multimedia, and more

    The Download newsletter with top tech stories delivered daily to your inbox

    Technology Review PDF magazine archive, including articles, images, and covers dating back to 1899

    10% Discount to MIT Technology Review events and MIT Press

    Ad-free website experience

/3
You've read of three free articles this month. for unlimited online access. You've read of three free articles this month. for unlimited online access. This is your last free article this month. for unlimited online access. You've read all your free articles this month. for unlimited online access. You've read of three free articles this month. for more, or for unlimited online access. for two more free articles, or for unlimited online access.