A Case of Innovative Disruption in the Wine Industry With Daniel Daou of Daou Vineyards


by Drew Hendricks
Last updated Jan 12, 2022

Legends Behind the Craft Podcast
Daniel Daou

Daniel Daou is a Winemaker and Proprietor at Daou Vineyards. He enrolled at the University of California, San Diego and earned a degree in computer engineering. With his brother, Daniel started a networking technology company for hospital computer systems. After the sale of his company, Daniel went back to his roots in wine and purchased land in Paso Robles. He took his dream of crafting wine from his garage to an enduring enterprise. He crafted California’s First Growth Cabernet Sauvignons and is a Central Coast ambassador of Bordeaux varieties.

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Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:

  • Daniel Daou talks about his beginnings in the wine industry and why the quality of soil impacts wine production
  • Why growing fresh and elegant wine begins in the ground
  • Daniel examines the relationship between climate and temperature to elevate the taste of unique wines 
  • How phenomics is changing crop production to yield more enjoyable and higher quality grapes
  • Daniel shares an in-depth look at the fermentation process of his Patrimony vintage line
  • Why the soil origin and geographical location are crucial for creating distinctive varieties of wine
  • Daniel talks about listening to the consumer and following your dreams to grow and scale your brand

In this episode with Daniel Daou

Is it possible to create delicately balanced wines in a particular area? How can you bring the taste and texture of varying geographical vines to different soil?

For Daniel Daou, understanding the land is essential to produce special barrels and vines with the texture you desire. He cultivated Bordeaux-style wine by connecting the climate and soil properties that can best create this line of vines, allowing the consumer to taste Roman luxury. With this approach, Daniel is committed to producing incredible wines and educating winemakers on the best harvest practices.

In this episode of Legends Behind the Craft, Drew Hendricks sits down with Daniel Daou, Winemaker and Proprietor at Daou Vineyards, to discuss how the expression of the soil provides rich vineyards. Daniel talks about how the climate can shape or break the texture of wine, understanding phenomics to produce the flavor you desire, and the impact geographical and soil location has on the wine harvest.

Resources Mentioned in this episode

Sponsor for this episode…

This episode is brought to you by Barrels Ahead.

Barrels Ahead is a wine and craft marketing agency that propels organic growth by using a powerful combination of content development, Search Engine Optimization, and paid search.

At Barrels Ahead, we know that your business is unique. That’s why we work with you to create a one-of-a-kind marketing strategy that highlights your authenticity, tells your story, and makes your business stand out from your competitors.

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Episode Transcript

Intro  0:03  

Welcome to the Legends Behind the Craft podcast where we feature top leaders in the wine and craft beverage industry with your host Drew Hendricks. Now let’s get started with the show.

Drew Hendricks  0:19  

Drew Hendricks here I’m the host of the Legends Behind the Craft podcast, where I talk with leaders in the wine and craft beverage industry, from tech companies that enable wineries to render optimum efficiency. to today’s guests. Daniel Daou, whose vision for passwordless is a world class Cabernet region is become a reality. Today’s episode is sponsored by Barrels Ahead. At Barrels Ahead, we work with you to implement a one of a kind marketing strategy when the highlights your authenticity, tells your story and connects you with your ideal customers. In short, we help wineries and craft beverage producers unlock their story to unleash their revenue, good barrelsahead.com today to learn more. I’m super excited to talk today with Daniel Daou, Daniel’s the winemaker and CO proprietor of Daou Family Estates. He’s a true visionary back in 2007, Daniel saw the immense potential of Paso Robles and the unique terroir that is now known as Daou Mountain. Located in the Adelaida district. Taos wines consistently received the highest praise from both critics and peers alike, in a region commonly thought of as better suited to Rome for idols, Daniel’s Cabernet Sauvignons, they’ve shattered this misconception. In 2012, Daniel founded the CAB collective, a grassroots nonprofit organization of winemakers who believe that Paso Robles can produce Cabernets, that rival the best in the world. Welcome to the show, Daniel.

Daniel Daou  1:39  

Thank you. Thank you for having me.

Drew Hendricks  1:41  

Thank you so much for being on. So we’re just we’re recording this, you just wrapped up another harvest and just came back from a pretty epic European tour from what I saw on social media

Daniel Daou  1:53  

is, yes, this harvest was very long, we work extremely hard. And then, you know, I pretty much circled around all of Europe, hitting so many countries. And it was kind of interesting, because everywhere I went two days later, they would either shut it down or no more travel, fortunately, went great. And I had the chance to meet wonderful people and really talk about the wines that taste the wines. In some cases, I was doing three or four classes a day. And the reception has been, you know, exhilarating. So extremely pleased with the with the trip and happy to be back home faster.

Drew Hendricks  2:28  

I imagine I imagine how was the harvest this year,

Daniel Daou  2:31  

harvest turned out to be amazing, I have to tell you it’s been it was challenging. At first. It was an interesting vintage where we fluctuated back and forth between extreme heat and extreme cold. Which is kind of bizarre. But I guess that’s probably the new the new, you know, the new thing. But now you know, we don’t know what to expect for the weather. I’ve given up looking at the weather forecast because I never know what’s gonna be happening or not. So fluctuating back and forth between hot and cold. And eventually by early September it got so cold, never warm back up. So when that happens, the winds take a little bit longer to start showing what they’re made up in barrel so that I was a little bit nervous for about a month. But I just actually got the taste of wines yesterday and I’m blown away by the quality. I think this has got to be one of my best vintages yet, together with 19 and 20, which were other two extremely great managers as well as a team we’ve had. We’ve had a series of four outstanding managers back to back so very happy about that.

Drew Hendricks  3:30  

That’s fantastic. So let’s go back a little bit to 2000 actually even before then, where you get where’d you get your start in winemaking it was back down in San Diego.

Daniel Daou  3:39  

So initially, obviously I developed first I developed my passion for drinking wine with friends growing up there. Started my schooling in San Diego at UCSD where I got my degree in Computer Engineering and my brother got it in electrical engineering at UCSD as well. We lived in San Diego started our first company and I knew that was based in Sorrento Valley, basically providing computer networks to the healthcare industry. And then I spent eight years searching the globe for what I felt would be the perfect they were the perfect place for growing this model varieties and while doing that I cut my teeth on a on a acre vineyard in Rancho Santa Fe. A blend of Cabernet and Myrtle mostly. And it was fun. It was a enjoyable I actually would make the wine too and I would have people come visit us I think the back of the garage of my small winery wasn’t they would taste the wine I would always hear the same thing. Wow this is actually pretty good. ever expected. It was a fun project, you know definitely allowed me to, you know get initiated to the world of winemaking.

Drew Hendricks  4:45  

It was like it was the it was the minimum viable model to prove that you could do it and your future was

Daniel Daou  4:51  

exactly as good because it started out small. And then that’s kind of how I started most of my companies. The first company we have My brother and I both work together. I say me, but it’s really we together. The first company we had I built a network in my living room. And I felt okay, I can do this. So let’s go out and get it sold. We did, but we didn’t say we’re the one pretty much.

Drew Hendricks  5:16  

That’s, that’s awesome. So what drew you to Paso Robles have all the regions. And

Daniel Daou  5:21  

so it’s important to understand that because once you understand the uniqueness of this French word that we use called terroir, which we heard about. And and you’ll understand why today, we view ourselves not as a winery, but it’s a case of disruptive innovation. And I’m going to give you the science and the explanation as to why this is not just another one. Let me start to the from the top and actually drill down to the bottom. If anybody had told you or myself or anybody else 10 years ago, that are given a from pastoral was a high end cab from pastoral. Without sell every Napa or California cabinets high end, in California besides one winery, two years in a row, people would have laughed really hard, they would have choked. But that is exactly what happened the last few years are Daou label, which is we’re going to that’s going to lead us into Patch one in a second. On Daou label astronomer line is being one of the best sold candidates of your high end in California two years in a row. It’s also one of the highest ratings in the region. Our Cabernet Sauvignon that we make on the Daou label, which you know, sells for about 20 $25 is the number one. So Cabernet Sauvignon, so when you’re going to luxury gathering United States. So the question is for anyone, I’m not saying that to boast by any means. I’m saying that to indicate the fact that there’s something going on just causing consumers to buy these wines, which are not traditionally from more regions like Sonoma, or Napa, or Washington for that matter, or any other places. The question is, why is that happening? This is the explanation I’m going to give to you that is a scientific answer to this question that I posed. Let’s talk about Tijuana. Tijuana is really explains the place that you’re at, you could probably have 10 different opinions of what there was. But I think the consensus is that the two predominant things that people talk about when they talk about your work, or soil and climate, soil and climate is going to really determine the quality of your wine. So what is so unique on our mountain in pasal, that doesn’t exist anywhere else on the planet. That is allowing us to make wines that are really revolutionizing the way people look at Cabernet Sauvignon abodo Radish. Well, let’s talk let’s start with so what do we know about soil? See, the wine industry is very old, it’s 1000s of years old. So you’ve got data that goes back 1000s of years ago, not just 20 years or 50 years? Well, history tells us that when it comes to soils, the most sought after soils in the world for growing vines are soils that are French, we call it local care, or an English cares, Clay. These are very unique soils. Going back to the Romans, they sought out these soils to actually plant binds, because they realize that those these soils give you the best chance of making not only the best one, but why is there retain freshness, elegance, balance, and also survived with no outside irrigation. The soils allow you to do that it provides much more than food and alcohol. They provide morality, they provide earthiness, they allow you to really pace the expression of the soil where the vines are growing. And they allow you to dry farm even in places like California where you don’t see water for you know, 910 months out of the year. Sometimes like this year, those vines can still thrive and survive without any outside irrigation. No other soil allows you to do that. Now in France, you know it rains, let’s face it the whole summer. I mean, I go back three times a year, and I’m always dodging the rain with an umbrella in the summer. So dry farming is not a big, huge proposition. I mean, it rains you go, you’re good for a month that it rains again, you’re fine. When in California, we don’t see rain. So that plays even a bigger role to have the soils.

The soils go beyond for alcohol. Again, they give you minerality but also they allow you to make naturally made wines, ones that are not assimilated with tartaric acid at a harvest time. Why is that don’t have to have all these things added to them, because they really give you a pure expression of what grows there is only one problem with the soil. And maybe you figured it out by now. They don’t exist in California. Most of California is not four types of soil, Clay, loam, Sandy, and volcanic are a combination of those four. But you never find these soils. They’re not known to be California. They’re known for being French. You find them in Bordeaux and burgundy larva You can shop around, and also in the Loire Valley, I mean, the list goes on in Tuscany in many other places. So the first thing we want to define is European soils, because we understood that they were superior soils. Well guess what? The biggest presence of these soils in California, one of the only ones there’s only a few is actually on the west side of mushrooms, where you find the same exact soils you find in places like Bordeaux, or burgundy, or any other place in France for that matter. So that’s the unique thing that we found soils that are reminiscent of Europe that go beyond food, alcohol, that give you freshness and elegance that are not just heavy and high alcohol and fruit forward, but rather it fresh, your elegant, the restraint, but then the powerful as well. Okay. Well, let’s talk about climate, just a second parameter. Climate is very badly misunderstood and pasal. I have yet to, you know, go through a week or so without hearing some journalists or social media post that says, Well, I’ve been to battle and it is very hot. So let’s come on down. bustle is 614,000 acres. It is larger, and Napa and Sonoma put together. It is twice the size of Bordeaux. Now, if you’ve been to Bordeaux, you can drive for two hours to go from one end to another. I mean, it’s huge. Twice the size of Bono twice. So you know, unfortunately, people some come too often to town, they stay downtown where it could be very hard. They come in July or August where it is hot. And you leave and he wrote an article saying I need to pass on what it is very hard. Let’s compare that

Drew Hendricks  11:34  

they also probably took the i Five ins in the Central Valley

Daniel Daou  11:37  

Exactly, exactly went to the Lost Hills and this 20 degrees and that would be like me going to Carneros which I’m sure you’ve been to where it’s very cold when you do sparkling wine mostly. And leaving there and writing an article or posting on social media saying, Well, I’ve been to Napa and Sonoma, it is very cool to wonder. Which makes no sense. So instead, let’s look at numbers because numbers don’t lie. There are two ways to measure climates. The first one is how many days reach 100 degrees Fahrenheit for a year. But why is that? Because at 100 degrees or close to that divide shuts down and no longer produces sugar, you get canopy burn, you get sunburn on the grapes, which depletes color depletes Chris Cook flavors. So you really don’t want to have 20 days or 100 degrees because in effect, you’re delaying your harvest, and you’re creating flavors that are not ideal. The second way to look at climate is you look at the average maximum temperature on a daily basis. And you average that out. Now why is that? Because based on that you will know kind of where your growing degree days are how much heat you’ve got received? And basically, are you on top of the bell curve? Where you want to be? Are you in the low part of the bell curve where you’re gonna have pyrazine and bell peppers and greenness because you know ripen? Or are you past the top where you’re going to get these cooked flavors or high alcohols, very heavy ones that are not fresh, right? So you want to be in the middle? Well, let’s take twice in the last two years 2019 A cooler year in California number of days that reached 100 degrees or more and pastoral was downtown by the airport was 28. Okay, so let me for 28 days most likely that vine did not produce sugar when the survival mode and didn’t do anything good. Therefore causing a delay of a month for harvesting, which is never good. Never till you saw 11 days at 100 degrees that here are mountain which by the way is the only site in the entire state of California, where there’s a vineyard at 2200 feet, but only 14 miles from the very cool Pacific Ocean 40 miles as the crow flies. Yeah, so zero days at 100 degrees, not a single day. Our average maximum temperature is always five to seven degrees cooler the parcel, three to five degrees cooler than Santa Lena Napa. Okay. So it’s a very unique climate. It’s the climate that allows you to achieve ripeness year after year without cooking the grapes without having the pyrazine and the palate either, which is horrible to taste, you know, especially if it’s over done right. So 2020 Same situation we had, it was very warm beer we saw 60s or 100 degrees, Napa sauce 13 pasta sauce 32. And again, we ran about three to five degrees cooler to Napa and five to seven coulomb Paso. So when you take a look at this combination of soil and climate that I just described, the only place we found that could be similar or not quite but almost there is Tuscany. But otherwise, it’s very hard to find these two conditions into one location. Definitely not in California, you will not find it. So when we found that we packed our bags moved up to the mountain erected a modular and I actually planted the first 26 acres myself not alone of course but somehow but I was out there planting because we believe that we were we were we had discovered something that’s extremely unique

And so what does it mean that the why most importantly, and then we’re going to if you like Delve into Patrimony, because that’s, that really defines the the peak of what we found, what you were able to do is make a wine that is not assimilated, that is the purest expression of terroir from our state, of course, that doesn’t get adulterated with color, and sugar and all these things that people had to manufacture these wines. These ones are made naturally, they’re made with our native yeast. And that’s it. So you’re really tasting the purest expression of the water in the glass. Furthermore, when you taste these wines, you will notice that there’s nothing that bites you right here or scratches you why, because the acid is natural. So it is integrated. When you add tartaric acid Oh is bite you in the back of the job. Integrated. See, you have to look at wine, not as a seminar for Coca Cola. It’s a living organism. It’s kind of like a stuck a human being. So what happens if you offset? No, in your case, let’s just say you offset your balance, you get too hot or or you get too cold or you eat too much sugar, what happens? You get a headache, right? Because your body goes out of balance. So you got a headache. A headache is a warning sign saying okay, you’re out of balance. Well, the one does the same thing. You should not put a lot of things is going to bite you. It’s going to scratch you it’s not going to be happy. And some people say well, it’s already there. So why not add it? Well, because it’s like, you’re offsetting the natural balance of the wine and paste it in the glass. Okay. The second thing we discovered, and that’s going to lead me to Patrimony is there’s an objective way, and a subjective way of looking at Whitewater the subjective way we’re not against, you know, a raider a raging a critic race the line. Here’s 100. Great, but another critic that is the same one. And so you know, it’s 94 it’s so subjective. It’s based on the path of the person. It’s based on the relationship, the credit man for the way. Yeah, it’s based on the way they woke up that day, maybe they had a bad day, we can argue with their spouse, you know, you know, you can have a bad day. We don’t like to rely on that. We’d like to take a more objective approach and measuring one quality. And the way you do that, and this is not new, it goes back decades, is looking at some of the gold phenomics. See, today, you can go way beyond the way you used to go. It used to be that you looked at a glass thing. Oh, I love the colors. Very nice. Oh, you know, I think the ones could restructure. Today I can look at a wide take, you know, this one has 300 parts per million of color molecules. It’s really up to the point 00 1% down on the world. Now why is color important because color, image texture, texture means density, there’s a very good correlation between the three and a wine that’s got that’s more textural is going to be a superior one, and a more enjoyable one. So I can look at this one and go beyond that. I could just find saying this one has 1500 porcelain offenders antennas aren’t the oxygen. So you know what this one is gonna be able to age 50 years or more because it’s 1400 parts of tennis. I can look at this one also say oh, the one maker reading my stuff. He over or she over both over extracted, the one look at the ratio between. So the science is really been has come a long way. Many people often I laugh at them. And people often ask me what to do these interviews. Hey, why isn’t anybody talking about phenomics? You know, I laugh You know what I say? I say well, you talk about your hair if you had done. I mean the reality is I measured 700 wines from all over the world. We have a bottle of wine that cost $50 actually $43 in the market that sells all over the country called the reserve Committee. It has more phenomics than 99% of all the high end get itself what an honor builders that I’ve actually measured. So a consumer is able to get for a fraction of a price, a wide that actually ages drinks better, more naturally than a wine that costs sometimes 10 times more. So our terroir, because of its uniqueness allows us to make naturally made wines, there are a pure expression of that there were that have some of the highest if not the highest fanatics on the planet for both overwrites and has caused disruption. Because if you’re a wine collector, and you’d like to drink wine, and this is by the way historic, the third Groundhog Day, we’ve encountered 1000s of times your collector II know you may be somebody who’s very wealthy was a billionaire. But you know what billionaires can be frugal too. If you have if you buy this bottle of wine, and it knocks your socks off. And then you compare it to all these wines, you spending 1020 times the price and you go it’s not as good, what are you gonna do?

You’re gonna buy that one is cheaper and is better, and it will age as my long if not longer. And that’s why we’ve got serious disrupt in the wine industry. So going back to Paso Robles we realized early on that we had a unique side that would allow us to generate phenomics like the world hasn’t seen Over and over and over again. And that’s important because it’s one thing to hit, hit the bull’s eye one year and have high phenomics. But we’re able to do it and replicate it year after year after year. So as you do that, is it because of it what is very consistent, it’s not too hard to start to call, it allows us to reach phenolic maturity and a perfect way, therefore allowing us to achieve phononic levels, like the world hasn’t seen in most cases. And at the price point, which is even more important, which is why our solemn Alliance has outsold all the other cabs in California that have had 40 5080 years of history. The word newcomer I mean, we’ve, we’ve been able to follow the line for eight years, and it’s outselling on and off premise, every high end cab besides one winery in California, was that day. I mean, it’s it’s numbers don’t lie. It’s the ratings. Okay. So now let’s go perpetuate in 2013, I found few rows on our vineyard rows there were just like, out of eight rows. And the fruit just perfect. The exposure looked perfect. The rootstock was perfect to clone. I mean, everything looks so good in the grape stasis, similar. You know, when I tasted them? I decided, you know, why don’t I just make these eight rows on their own and see what it’s like? I’m just curious, because it’s just perfect, perfect. You know, a situation where these grapes, so we made the wine 225 cases, not much, you know, very small quantity. We saw fanatics that were never seen. I mean, this was totally off the chart. It’s like a paradigm shift that suddenly we’re not caring. We’re like, what the heck does that mean? That is really, really

Drew Hendricks  21:40  

Uber high. As a comparison, how’s that? How are they elevated from the Soul of a Lion?

Daniel Daou  21:46  

Anywhere from 20 200%? Higher? Oh, wow. Yeah, some some images 100% Higher. So which is amazing, because film is already one of the highest honor Cabernet in the world. So we did this wine and said, You know, it’s one thing to make this one, but we want to treat it the right way. With this high phenolics we’re able to maybe have longer lavage longer aging and barrel. So we acquired the rarest barrels on Earth. One in one case, there are only about 20 Barrels made per year. Fallen trees are 300 years old in France. And they’re they have extra extra Thai grain. So we require grades to have less than one millimeter between the grades. So very slow integration. So we don’t want you to drink with and if you drink the Patrimony gab you’ll see that you don’t really taste that, oh, you know slurs that goes up in your mouth, we want you to taste the terroir, we want the wood to accentuate it, but not dominated. So we took these two barrels, and we aged the wine not for 22 months, but for 30 months. Now why is that? Because you see these wines are extremely well structured. And we wanted the tenants to be very integrated. So when you age your wine in a barrel, the molecules with time get longer. They’re called long chain patents, there’s a difference between long chain tennis and short chain patents. long chain tennis tend to be more supple, more integrated, more velvety, more, more sexy. So we aged this wine for 30 months, and then and then bottled it. And we thought we have no idea people are gonna I mean, we know they’re they’re calling people go crazy over $150 You know, price tag for soul. But can we really, you know, compete with a with a Harlands of the world and only at a fraction of the price still 4075 A bottle, we think we have no idea. So we say if nobody buys it will break. The Why was sold out in five weeks, and it was a three year waiting list. So we continued making the same quantity, but 245 years ago, so 250 every year. And finally, last year, we were able to we were approached by a wonderful team, most of the team that built Opus One, especially on the West Coast, who had been there for 21 years. And one gentleman who actually was running the sales for this one in the marketing and few others as well. So they all decided to leave this four day process and enjoy Patrimony and so we’ve taken some of that wide and allocated it to the wholesale market so we can actually get it out in the industry because we want people to you know everybody to discover and not just a few that are lucky and go to weddings. And it’s been a tremendous success. The wine is totally sold out. We have I think our team is just having fun right now celebrating the holidays because there’s nothing most to actually allocate. And we have decided to build a beautiful winery. We’ve acquired a property adjacent to our mountain so it’s part of our mountain which will be dedicated to Patrimony with hopefully a chateau like they will look like a chateau from France, but you know not do anything very humble and very more like a Right Bank and electronic shutter you know if you need to go to the left bank shadows tend to be very Guardian electron but the right bank tend to be more country like and look we’re going after and and we’re having fun we’re having a great time we hope to have the winery you know ready to go by 2024 We love what we do we created Patrimony to be a legacy for my brother and I that’s why the bottle that says Liga to mushroom and Latin which is our legacy. So we hope that by putting our best wines in this in this label Patrimony that hopefully even a long time after we’re gone people remember that these two guys came in and created something very unique for Paso and for California in general because you know we’re we don’t see ourselves competing with that we actually see ourselves as helping California rise to a whole new level and which is why we focus quite a bit internationally we’re in 50 countries today tell you after visiting about seven of them I got asked over and over again Can we have Patrimony more Patrimony like we don’t have that much to wait this is more production still. And it will probably always stay very small. I mean it’s never going to be something that’s huge. But it’s more about showing the potential that the region can hold and can attain and that’s really what we focus on. Sure.

Drew Hendricks  26:26  

That’s and then so it’s the Patrimony um Are you building it on red on down mountain or adjacent to it’s on a new what property

Daniel Daou  26:34  

was it? It’s right adjacent so we bought 270 acres that’s connected to that mountain and you know it they’re basically connected so they’re like next door to each other. That’s where the Patrimony one is being built there.

Drew Hendricks  26:47  

That’s That’s fantastic. Going back to when you were I love all the stuff of Patrimony and it’s it’s definitely worth the price. I did try it about six seven months ago a friend I was lucky enough to open one of his bottles and he read about the velvety tannins What a treat like gone back to when you first planted down mines. What um there must have been a tremendous pressure to plant room varietals. I mean, driving up Adelaide road. It is Rome land.

Daniel Daou  27:17  

Well, Adelaide has always been known as Boto. Oh really,

Drew Hendricks  27:22  

I stand corrected there. Yeah,

Daniel Daou  27:24  

but there are some parts compasses are known for Rome, and they still are. But let me give you some statistics. There’s 45,000 acres or so planning impossible. You want to guess how many of them are board you will probably get it wrong. 10,000 No, percentage wise.

Drew Hendricks  27:42  

Oh percentage of that? I would say

Daniel Daou  27:45  

15% 60%. Is Bobo.

Drew Hendricks  27:48  

Holy moly, I I could not be more wrong.

Daniel Daou  27:51  

You want to guess how much is wrong?

Drew Hendricks  27:53  

I’m gonna go 16% on your clothes. 13.

Daniel Daou  27:57  

So you see, it’s a misconception that the region is known for rolling. I know that critics especially I’ve been trying to shove that into consumers I might. But this is a rural region because napa cabbage, but in reality, pastels too large for that you can thumbs up six lump sum 614,000 acres into one variety and makes no sense. There are some places that grow grateful varieties like the Templeton gap, the Willow Creek, I love old rice from there actually didn’t taste very good. I later though, I’m sorry, I differ probably with some people’s opinion, but I don’t think so. And I’ll tell you why. If you go down to these elevation door elevations, and people get very excited, they see the soils with rock croppings everywhere and they go oh my god, this is great soil. Yes. They’re great for Rome. They’re horrible for both. And I’ll tell you why. No, no varieties like shade. They don’t want to be beaten up by the sun all day because they don’t handle the sun that well. So you want to be able to form a full canopy that’s like four and a half five feet tall in order to protect yourself so that the grapes are protected. Well, when you have these rocky soils, and you don’t have the clay component, you just have the limestone soils, you don’t get a canopy, the canopy goes about a foot high. So growing good Cabernet model is a horrible idea because you’re going to get somewhere left and right. The road varieties do handle it very well. I mean, you places like Chromium in Spain, right? You can beat it up on the heat all day long. With very hot temperatures, they thrive. They roll out in the same way so many different regions that have a lot of heat. Their own varieties grow very well. But when it comes to Bordeaux, Clay plays a huge role. They need that clay. So why is it that the LA is so good for both over it? There are two main reasons for that. The first one, because of the elevation, you’re in the center of this era, right? You get fewer days at 100 degrees. Cat doesn’t like getting much higher than 100 and he’s already high 100 less than that is better. Low 90s is perfect high 80s is perfect. So You don’t want to be in that scenario where you have, you know, 110 degree weather for, you know, four weeks, you’re just not going to do. But that’s one reason. The second reason is to form the canopy, right? You need that canopy, you need to make sure that to kind of become reformed. Well, what helps with that is the Clay Right? So when there was a tectonic movements millions of years ago, and the Templeton gap separated, all that topsoil that pushed up to the higher relation. So when you go to our vineyard, you will see basically clay, and you’ll think, oh, they just have clay, we’ll try to dig about a foot and a half to three feet deep. It’s pure limestone, but it’s underneath that clay. And the clay is important to provide color to provide texture to provide vigor for the canopy to be built up very well. So there are some places that grow great drones and possible and nobody’s denying that. But when critics or other people say it’s a rural region, there are way off. That would be like me going to Sonoma and saying it’s a peanut region. How do you think Alexandria probably would feel? Or Dry Creek? Which growth rates and fundada per teacher? They wouldn’t feel very good about that. They go, Well, we’re in Sonoma, right. You know, we’re good for cat. We’re Alexander Valley. Oh, we’re in Dry Creek. We do great Zinfandel producer on the Russian River. Yeah, you do great people traveling. So you cannot lump sum everything. You cannot have some region as big as possible into one variety. That’s silly. Yeah.

Drew Hendricks  31:26  

I mean, it is a huge region. Do you think Paso should be split up into sub A VAs rather than districts? There is a dichotomy between the east side and the west side.

Daniel Daou  31:36  

You know that that used to be the case a long time ago, no longer true today. Okay. 2014, I believe was where they split the population into 11 sub appellations. So for instance, today when you see Adelaida district people think I’m going to race see Willow Creek, most likely this thing over on rice, Templeton gap, they’re probably going to see possibly some Chardonnay because it gets very cold down there. You know with a fog coming in covering the vineyard all the way till noon during the summer. You don’t get as much sun. I have some beautiful vineyards that grow beyond a the gross national sun. You know, Chardonnay Pinot Noir that does very well out of the Templeton gap. I’ve seen some very good results. Then you start going east you know alpha Mar depends where you are and Omar some places do great camp. Other places do great parties routes around the more East you go I think the more you’re going to do better with probably you know Sarah and producer in question going up Omar, you’re going to probably be better off with camp I mean, we’re all on CRICOS which is a but pretty close to the to the freeway not too far in great Cabernet. Excellent Cabernet. So it’s hard to lump sum a big region like my classroom, but there’s room for everybody we don’t need to fight over a scab or or Pinot or I think there’s good there’s room for everybody to grow with the luck and hopefully it’s in their in their application

Drew Hendricks  33:00  

that has been so helpful. I mean, there’s so many misconceptions that I even myself so I’ve been a pastor many many times and still it still have those kind of misconceptions that you just think he said Westside, you don’t really realize how solidified pasos become with its terroir is in the different regions and what what binds are suited there. But there’s one other aspect to that tier wines that I do want to talk about is your work with native yeasts. And that rolling in what makes Daou wine so special.

Daniel Daou  33:30  

They do they do so I’ll give you a background that, you know, 3040 years ago, almost everybody in the world made wine with a strain of yeast called Saccharomyces servicing. And Saccharomyces surveysay, basically, is the kind of yeast that is very sexy and imparts floral components. It really does a good job with pennons. So it really imparts things that really are made the wine superior. The problem is most of these yeast traditionally do not handle very high often, they’ll go to 1313 and a half, you start going to 15 and they’re going to get stuck and they won’t be able to digest the sugar. So because of global warming, you know today this will shock you but good for the good vintage of Bordeaux, you’re at 50% Alcohol. So it’s not just California is Bordeaux as well. But in Bordeaux, obviously in a badminton you’re going to be at 13 or 13. But in a great vintage, you’re going to be on 15 measure many of them with high pH as well. So when that started happening, winemakers started getting stuck fermentations. So most of the wild world today started going to towards what’s called a buy in a strange yeast, which is a yeast that is just a fermenter. It’s a very strong permettra can handle up to 17 and a half percent alcohol. But it smells like cardboard and there’s nothing sexy. So in 2012, I’ve collected some grapes from our vineyard center to Italy work for the lab. We identified 100 Different isolates, basically different strains of yeast that were living natively on our grapes and the pain of Measuring and testing every one of them. And we hit the jackpot, the number 20, the company that helped us with that said that in 35 years, they have never seen anything like that. It’s a sacrifice of servicing. But that aspect of bias you can handle up to 70 plus percent alcohol, it can handle up to 104 degrees in fermentation temperature, which is very rare because most of them dire and 98, maybe or 95, sometimes less. A stabilizer scholar amazingly well, it stabilizes the tendency better. So we had a jackpot and we started using it for from an all our wives when you smell it smells like strawberry cream and truffle, a very, very sexy use. And then we know a company came to us, please let us tell it to the rest of the world. We said okay, so today you will find a case in 35 countries from Moldova all the way to South Africa. And I was actually in Bordeaux a few weeks ago, and they’re using this as well there. So it’s exciting. It’s a great use, we don’t mind sharing it with the world. And again, it outperforms every other use. There was Justice before.

Drew Hendricks  36:02  

That’s amazing. Well, that’s a clear state of disruption there. I mean, something something as far as us because I do remember when the new strains of yeast came out back in, you know, the late 90s are suddenly suddenly all the ones kind of jumped from 14% to 17%. Seemed like within two years.

Daniel Daou  36:21  

I know. I know.

Drew Hendricks  36:24  

Great work. Talk to me about where you see the region going. So you’re building Patrimony and I mean, you are committed to the past the region where do you see pastoralists in 10 1015 years from now?

Daniel Daou  36:35  

I think 10 to 15 years from now. I think the the winemakers and vintners posso and the consumers will zoom in on the right places and possible to grow the varieties they love. So, today there is no there is no argument over when you go to Sonoma, right? If you go to Alexander Valley, I think you’re going to expect to have some Bordeaux wines Cabernet, others, if you go to the Russian River, you’re going to be tasting Pinot and Chardonnay. Pasta is not there versus 20 years away from that today, you still have people that get very upset if you dare mention that this is a cab region and they happen to have a road vineyard, you know, they just go crazy over you ended up No, you’re wrong. But I think the consumer is going to decide and my brother and I are very consumer driven. We trust the consumer, the consumer smart, the consumer will eventually decide the same way they’ve decided solid line is a better one, but 150 bucks that most otherwise, the new will decide where to go and parcel to actually taste the kind of wines you like, and that will change the region. So doesn’t matter. You know what meant there’s a planet that consumer is going to decide to do.

Drew Hendricks  37:45  

Now that’s that’s very true. And that’s great advice for anybody in the wine industry. Listen to the consumer, too often we’re trying to impress what we want on to them rather than me listening. What other advice would you give a young winemaker just starting out in the region?

Daniel Daou  38:00  

You know, I would say focus on making what you love what you’re passionate about. Don’t pay attention to trends. Don’t pay attention to, you know, following the sheep protocol, you know, just because somebody is here doing this, that I’m going to do this. Do what you love. Because I tell you, if you love what you do, if you love the variety that you that you work with, you’ll make great one, you’ll be passionate about it if you’re just doing it as a job, or because you know you have to fit a certain trend. It’s not going to be successful. So if you’re young winemaker, follow your dreams. Follow your passion. Don’t pay attention to the naysayers, the same as I did. I followed my dream. I didn’t pay attention to people telling me and just till tell me oh, you know what, this is a rural region? You know, it’s not it depends where you are. But I would say I would give the best advice to or maybe.

Drew Hendricks  38:49  

That’s, that’s great advice. I mean, we all should be following our passions. Is you followed your passions at the beginning. Is there anything you would have done over again, in founding the Daou? You know,

Daniel Daou  38:59  

no, surprisingly enough. I mean, my brother and I were talking about that just a few days ago, for that matter. We’re like, you know what, it’s hard to look back and say, we should have done this differently. I mean, we really have a hard time doing it. So far, you know, we made the right bets. We followed our heart, we followed our we’ve done our due diligence, we’ve done our homework, reviews, our engineer background, to really engineering background to really, you know, make calculated decisions in terms of how to grow things and how to go about them. We’ve crafted some incredible relationships in the industry, with distributors, with patrons with restaurant owners, with retail owners. And we’re very thankful for that. It’s a wonderful industry. And I tell you, we’ve made so many friends in the last 10 years in this industry, that it attracts people that are like minded and attracts people that love life, that love to be around. Good company, good food, good wine, it’s hard to go wrong. I mean, it’s just a wonderful

Drew Hendricks  39:58  

It absolutely is the last I spent the last 30 years in different capacities. I couldn’t agree more with that. And I do I do see their engineering background just the whole way that just how quickly Daou came onto the scene, how quickly, you just made that you made the decisions the way an engineer would make it. And the processes were in place. Yes.

Daniel Daou  40:23  

So we have we’re very strong processes. You know, everything is buttoned down to make sure that it’s done with, you know, precise preciseness, you know, we’re very precise in what we do. And that’s something that I think our engineering background has really helped us with.

Drew Hendricks  40:40  

And that’s what people often confuse engineers with not being artistic, but it’s having those processes and systems in place that allows the artistry to come out. Because if everything’s alright, all right, it’s very hard to be artistic. Well, and being that random add artists.

Daniel Daou  40:55  

So So people often ask me, does that mean that you go by numbers? I said, No. I say the numbers explained to me what I did. So I don’t get lucky once every 20 years, I’m able to replicate. But at the end of the day, the numbers only help us measure what you’ve done. Everything is done from the heart, everything is done. You know, as a gift, like I’ve been asked before, you know, not to be boastful anyway. But one of the last tastings that I’ve done with the fate of Robert Park, one advocate out of 20 out of 3130 wines that I submitted 21 I believe got 95 points or higher. And people asked me, how’d you do that? And the answer was, I don’t know. And they looked at me like what do you mean, you don’t know? I don’t know, I make hundreds of decisions every day when I make the one. It’s not a form of just, you know, I trust my palate. I trust my gut. It’s a gift. Technology definitely is helpful though, because it gives me like an early warning system and allows me to measure what I’ve done. But at the end of the day, you know, it’s not something that I can have a recipe for there is no recipe one making and if there is you’re not gonna make good ones. Hmm,

Drew Hendricks  42:01  

that’s great. That’s That’s great advice. So as we’re kind of wrapping down I do want to pass on roadless pastoralists, Bordeaux varietals aside what are the wine regions are you most excited about right now in the world? dusky,

Daniel Daou  42:13  

very excited about Tuscany, I think down the road, we’ll probably work on a project there, I find similar conditions. And then what we found are a mountain with beautiful soil, you know, beautiful climate. And I’ve tasted some incredible wines that I believe can definitely, you know, approach the quality that we’re producing here today. So don’t be surprised in the near future. We have a Dustin project producing wine.

Drew Hendricks  42:37  

I can’t wait to see that. And come and keep my eye out. And also Daniel, thank you so much for joining us. Where can people learn more about you and downlines

Daniel Daou  42:49  

they can follow me on Instagram at Daniel.J.Daou D A O U are they can obviously follow Patrimony Estates, which they do. They can also follow Daou Vineyards, Instagram, but I think that’s the best way to keep up with what we’re doing. I post a lot of things personally on on my Insta, I do a lot of education during harvest. I think people inside the winery with me show them how I make the wine how I do my pump overs. So if you’re in the mood of being entertained and also getting some education, follow me follow up Patrimony Estate restarts the same as well as the new system.

Drew Hendricks  43:23  

Sounds fantastic. Well doubt. I’m Indian. Daniel, thank you so much for joining us today.

Daniel Daou  43:28  

Thank you. It’s a real pleasure to meet you. Nice to meet you in person for your future.

Drew Hendricks  43:32  

Oh, absolutely. I’m wrapping passes all the time. Well, that sounds great. Thank you so much

Outro  43:37  

like you very much. Take care. Thanks for Listening to the Legends Behind the Craft podcast. We’ll see you again next time and be sure to click Subscribe to get future episodes.