||In 1972, Sue and Ed Smith moved their family of six children, ages three to nine, to 14 undeveloped acres located on a ridge in West Sonoma County. Their dream was to build a house, plant a vineyard to raise fine grapes, and raise the kids on this unique and beautiful land.
Over the next 12 months the family lived in a trailer and a tent while they built the house themselves. They couldn’t get into the old barn because a fox had her den of pups there and she barked furiously if they got near.
||Careers and raising a large family got in the way of planting the vineyard. Finally, in 2002, looking toward retirement, the Smiths planted eight acres of Pinot Noir. In 2005, winemaker Dan Goldfield made the first vineyard-designated Pinot Noir from Fox Den Vineyard grapes under the OROGENY label – dream realized.
||Three generations of the Smith/Lichtenberg/Shafer clan now actively participate in the care of the vineyard with the goal of growing superb grapes for exceptional wines while being good stewards of the land.
Every spring the grey fox still bring their young from the barn up to the yard to play and explore.
Fox Den Vineyards sits on the Western boundary of the Green Valley AVA in the Russian River Valley near the town of Occidental. The micro climate, 12 miles from the coast, has moderate daytime temperatures, cool nights, and early morning fog, resulting in a very long growing season and ideal conditions for Pinot.
According to Dan, “These conditions give the grapes the right balance at ripeness, permitting us to pick mature fruit with good sugar levels, ripe tannins and high acid.” The result is very dense and complex Pinot with great aging potential.
Current Fox Den weather is available from our weather station
Winemaker and Winery
Dan Goldfield has been making Pinot Noir from Fox Den grapes since 2004. He has played a key role in developing the reputation of the Russian River Appellations for producing California’s finest Pinot Noir. He was recently named Sunset Magazines “2010 Winemaker of the Year.”
Raised in Philadelphia, he studied Philosophy and Chemistry at Brandeis University. Dan came to California to do chemistry research at UC Berkeley but a passion for both wine and the outdoors led him to the University of California, Davis where he received an MS in Enology in 1987. He worked for La Crema, Hartford Court, Schramsburg and Mondavi, earning a reputation as a talented and innovative winemaker specializing in cold-climate Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
In 1998, Dan joined with Steve Dutton, a fifth generation farmer in Sonoma County to found Dutton-Goldfield Winery with the philosophy to “make wines that express the personality of a unique vineyard that is perfectly placed and planted.” The first Fox Den Pinot Noir under the Dutton-Goldfield label was harvested in 2009.
Information on the releases is available at duttongoldfield.com
and at the Dutton Goldfield tasting room in Sebastopol, California.