The couple both attended UC Davis. Dan was enrolled in the Enology and Viticulture Department when legendary Zinfandel producer Jed Steele was teaching there. Under Steele’s guidance, the Doolings fell in love with California’s varietal.
Purchasing their property in the Mendocino Ridge AVA fulfilled a lifelong dream to make great Zins with the correct climate and soils. They could not have chosen a better place. The Doolings property encompasses about 90 acres and is planted with 31 acres of vines.
20 of these acres grow Zinfandel and 11 are planted with Merlot and Syrah. All of their grapes are hand picked with great care to maximize ripeness and quality. They are dry farmed (no irrigation) to ensure maximum flavor concentration.
Known as, “islands in the sky,” the Mendocino Ridge is home not to hillside vines, but rather mountaintop vines. It is common for these choice vineyards to enjoy extended sunlight when lower regions are covered by a sea of fog. These conditions are particularly advantageous for producing Zins with developed fruit flavors and rounded tannins.
All of the grapes from Mariah Vineyards are sold to Brown-Foreman Wines. Although Brown-Foreman is a large wine and liquor conglomerate, they make a special bottling using the Doolings’ grapes. Annual production is around 800 cases. This limited wine is made by Nancy Walker at Fetzer Winery. (Fetzer is owned by Brown-Foreman)
Dan Doolings was formerly a teamster driver and has as much passion for trucking and he does for grapes. He is certainly an unconventional individual, and brings an enormous amount of confidence and energy to all aspects of his life. Amazingly, he has logged over two million miles on the road.