The origins of David Arthur Vineyards and the Long Family Ranch date back to when the Long family started visiting the Napa Valley in the 1950’s. Don Long, a butcher by trade owned a small grocery store in Portola Valley, near Stanford University and had long been interested in the California wine country. With a keen eye for business opportunities, Don began steadily investing in Napa Valley real estate leading to the acquisition of nearly 1,000 acres atop Pritchard Hill in St. Helena, California. Don’s youngest son, David Arthur, founded the winery with his then wife, Joye Dale, in 1985 with the purchase of 30 French oak barrels. David and Joye’s daughter, Laura Long, now works side by side with her father running the day-to-day operations of the winery and vineyards.
In the 1960’s the estate was merely raw land without access roads or utilities. On weekends Don and his wife Anne, would hike up roughly 1,000 feet from the Silverado Trail below to picnic under the large oak tree that still stands in the vineyard in front of the winery. While sitting on their blanket enjoying a glass of wine, Don would envision harnessing the hillsides potential to cultivate world-class grapevines.
In 1978, Don’s vision came to fruition when he and his 28-year-old son David Arthur Long built a small barn and began planting grapevines. After seeing the excellent quality of the fruit growing in the vineyards David received his father’s permission to convert the small barn into his own winery, naming it David Arthur Vineyards. The winery’s inaugural release was the 1985 vintage, which coincided with the birth year of David’s daughter Laura Annalyce Long.
The mountains of Colorado were where David perfected his Stem Christie, along with his famous recipe for traditional Swiss fondue. In the early 1970’s, David opened his first restaurant in Boulder, CO. The experience cemented his passion for great food, fine wine (and hard work!) The art of hospitality and the cultivation of great friendships has never been lost on David. If there is any reason to celebrate; life, love, family, friends, a beautiful day, David is there with open arms, a mischievous smile and lots of delicious food, tasty libations and plenty of fun!
David was lured to the Napa Valley by his adventurous spirit and the opportunity to do something special. One fateful evening in the winter of 1976, David’s father disclosed that during the 1950’s and 60’s he had purchased nearly 1,000 acres of land in Napa Valley. The Judgement of Paris had been published in Time magazine and conversations with Andre Tchelistcheff, the Dean of American Winemaking, ensued. The Europeans had been growing wine in the hills for centuries and the concept of terroir was on the American horizon.
David wasted no time clearing the land, removing rock and planting his vineyard. He borrowed the neighbor’s tractor and began learning about farming and winemaking through internships at Chappellet, Joseph Phelps and Schramsberg. He took classes at UC Davis to learn about geology, viticulture and oenology. Hard work was the name of the game and David had endless energy to get the job done. The result: electricity, water, a barn, a house, a road and twenty acres of pristine grapevines producing the extraordinary fruit that goes into each bottle of highly acclaimed David Arthur Vineyards wine.
David met Joye Dale in 1983 and they quickly fell in love and married. Together they founded David Arthur Vineyards in 1985. With an original purchase of 30 French oak barrels, they could never have imagined what DAV would eventually become. What was a bumpy dirt road that led to a dusty barn would four decades later be referred to as the Rodeo Drive of Napa Valley. The inaugural year of their new business coincided with the birth of their daughter, Laura Annalyce Long. Growing up on Pritchard Hill, Laura learned the wine business young with a childhood of ‘on the job’ training. Luckily, she wasn’t afraid of hard work or getting dirty. In fact, she loved it! As soon as she could put on her own boots, Laura was involved in every aspect of DAV. If her parents were walking the property assessing the vineyard, Laura was running ahead and picking mustard flowers. If Joye was doing bookkeeping and licensing at her desk, Laura was licking stamps and preparing the mail. If David was driving the tractor and tilling the land, Laura was steering the wheel and enjoying the breeze in her hair. Laura loved helping her parents in every way possible, from mopping the cellar floor, to organizing clamps and hoses, placing capsules on newly bottled wine and date stamping cases before they left the winery for distribution. She witnessed the hard work and sacrifice necessary to run a successful business and as it turns out, not only is it her bliss, she’s quite gifted at it.
Nearly two decades later, Laura headed off to college. Moving down to the ‘big city’ of Moraga, CA, she made many new friends and loved studying business at St. Mary’s College. The very first day was particularly exciting as there was a very handsome Division l rugby player that caught Laura’s eye. The two fell in love and Laura came home five years later with a finance’ and an MBA. To David’s delight, Laura came onboard at David Arthur Vineyards as our General Manager and has overseen our business for the past decade and insightfully guides us into the future. Laura and Teddy have welcomed Generation Four into the DAV family and Brielle and David Arthur ‘Davy’ are getting their boots dirty and loving this land every bit as much as their great-grandparents who founded it.
David’s interest in the fermentation process began at an early age. A friendship forged on a seventh-grade school bus resulted in some early experimentation with apple juice, yeast culture and plenty of boyhood anticipation. That initial interest soon waned, but would resurface many years later with a much more refined product.
In the early 1970’s, David transitioned from University life to the world of food and wine opening his first restaurant in Boulder, CO. This experience cemented his passion for great food, fine wine (and hard work!) The art of hospitality and the cultivation of great friendships has never been lost on David. If there is any reason to celebrate; life, love, family, friends, a beautiful day, David is there with open arms, a mischievous smile and lots of delicious food, tasty libations and plenty of fun!
David was lured to the Napa Valley by his adventurous spirit and the opportunity to do something special. One fateful evening in the winter of 1976, David’s father, Don Long, disclosed that during the 1950’s and 60’s he had purchased nearly 1,000 acres of land in the eastern hillsides of Rutherford. The Judgement of Paris had been published in Time magazine and conversations with Andre Tchelistcheff, the Dean of American Winemaking, ensued. The Europeans had been growing wine in the hills for centuries and the concept of terroir was on the American horizon.
David wasted no time clearing the land, removing rock and planting his vineyard on Pritchard Hill. He began learning about viticulture and oenology through internships at Chappellet, Joseph Phelps and Schramsberg all the while taking classes at UC Davis. Hard work was the name of the game and David had endless energy to get the job done. The result: electricity, water, a barn, a house, a road and nineteen acres of pristine grapevines producing the extraordinary fruit that goes into each bottle of highly acclaimed David Arthur Vineyards wine.
David’s energy is contagious. The glass is always half-full (or entirely full in many cases) and his vision and work-ethic are at the heart of our company. It’s about family and friends and being thankful for our blessings. One of David’s many insightful quotes is: ‘We make wine every day…the magic happens when we enjoy it together!’
Born and raised on Long Family Ranch, Pritchard Hill is Laura’s home. DAV is in her DNA. She knows its past, lives its present and works diligently to secure its future. In witnessing her parent’s unrelenting work ethic, Laura aspired to earn her graduate degree in Business Administration and take on the responsibilities of running the family business. As our General Manager, Laura oversees all Winery Operations. Her keen business acumen, clear vision and inherent intuition make her oversight loving, wise and enduring. Laura is committed to continuing the family tradition of hand crafting exceptional quality, limited-production wines for generations to come.
In 2016, David and Laura Long welcomed Paul and Teddy Bystrowski as partners in David Arthur Vineyards. Teddy is Laura’s husband and Paul is her father-in-law. Together this father-daughter and father-son team share the responsibility of guiding the winery into the future for the next generation.
With more than two decades of experience working with notable wineries both domestically and abroad, Nile brings a vast knowledge to the craft of organic winegrowing. He lends his passion and commitment to producing distinctive wines with a focus on vineyard site-expression and structure, which are benchmarks of the David Arthur winemaking philosophy.
Growing up in Marin County, CA, Nile’s interest in winemaking began at an early age while he and his father experimented with home winemaking and this early exposure piqued Nile’s interest and ignited a passion that still exists today.
A trip with his father many years later to the Northern California coast included visits to several breweries. This inspired him to begin experimenting with brewing his own beer, entering competitions and winning awards for his brews. The experience stoked his passion for combining science and artistry and put him on the path to earning a BS in Fermentation Science in 1997 with a focus in Enology, Viticulture and Brewing Sciences at the University of California, Davis.
Nile has built a career producing award-winning wines from Burgundian and Bordeaux varieties. At David Arthur Vineyards he continues to push quality through focused attention on soils, organic viticultural management and limited input or Natural Winemaking.
Roberto came to David Arthur in the summer of 1989 as a vineyard laborer. He has proven to be the most reliable, loyal, and hardworking employee David has known. His work-ethic and can-do attitude go hand in hand with David’s endless energy, creativity and vision. Together, they are a formidable team. Whatever the project, Roberto approaches it with a smile and an ‘I can take care of it’ attitude. Be it building a fence or a drainage gulch, repairing a water pump or a wine press, driving a field tractor or a fork lift, managing a vineyard crew or a wine cellar. The workload is endless, and Roberto is the man for the job. His pride of ownership can be seen in his huge smile and warm laugh. His signature can be seen in every corner of David Arthur Vineyards. His three decades of service are a priceless gift that we hold dearly in our hearts.
Teresa is Roberto’s wife and has also been working at David Arthur since the late 1980’s. Both she and Roberto hail from the town of Tonalá in the state of Oaxaca, Mexico. They are proud parents of Cecilia and Roberto Jr, both of whom have worked at DAV while growing up. Teresa began her career at the winery by lending a hand in any and every way possible. She assists with all aspects of David Arthur wine production from the vineyard to the bottle and beyond. Hard work and dedication are hallmarks of Teresa’s character and we are proud to have her as a part of our extended family. She has been an integral part of the vineyard, the cellar and the estate teams for nearly three decades.
Tanner came to the Napa Valley in the summer of 2013 to start a career in the wine industry. A Kansas native, Tanner graduated with a degree in film production from the University of Kansas leading him to Chicago where he worked for a top production company. After five years in the Windy City, he decided to head west where he could focus on his love of wine. Tanner landed a coveted intern position at DAV and began his career in winemaking. After two seasons in the cellar, it became obvious that Tanner needed to be ‘front of house’ with his spark-plug personality, quick wit and disarming charm. Tanner’s passion for fun is contagious and his charisma is unmatched. There isn’t a day that goes by without Tanner making everybody’s day brighter, colleagues and visitors alike. His favorite part of the day is getting to pour wine for you!
Born and raised in Piedmont, California, Candice graduated from USC with a degree in French Literature. Following her interests of travel and adventure, she lived in France for several years where her love of wine emerged. Candice began her career as an interpreter and translator, but quickly realized that wine was her true passion. Wine and, of course, people! Candice moved to Napa Valley in 1998 and has never looked back. Her expertise lies in all things Direct-to-Consumer: Hospitality, Sales, Marketing, Allocation, Education, eCommerce and Customer Service. If you are drinking David Arthur Vineyards wine, you probably know (and love!) Candice.
Born and raised outside of San Francisco, Sean spent his early summers working on his uncle’s cattle and citrus ranch in California’s Central Valley. It was there that Sean’s love of farming evolved and lead him to studying plant science and viticulture at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. After graduation, Sean went directly into the wholesale fine wine business working for some of Napa Valley’s finest, ultra-premium wineries managing sales, marketing and distribution. Sean’s professionalism and extensive knowledge of wholesale distribution, on-premise and off-premise sales and marketing allow our friends to enjoy DAV wine all across the US and abroad.
David Arthur Vineyards sits high atop the Eastern Vaca Mountain range on Pritchard Hill. For over 40 years our organic vineyard has been farmed by the caring hands of our vineyard team. Our high elevation vineyard originates from volcanic activity that occurred over 150 million years ago and is characterized by weathered volcanic rock and grano-diorite, which provides excellent drainage and minerals for our vines.
In accordance with our mission plan we utilize the following practices to optimize and shepherd the longevity of our estate vineyard:
– Certified Organic by CCOF in 1986
– Utilization of Organic cover crop for nitrogen fixation and erosion control
– We monitor our soils and plant tissue annually to determine organic inputs
– Electric golf carts provide low compaction and zero carbon footprint
– We release surplus irrigation water to recharge the protected Napa River
– We are certified California Fish Friendly
– We hand prune, thin and harvest our vineyard
– Installation of bird boxes
– Low yield < 3 ton per acre (avg yield 2.7 T/Acre)
– Night harvesting which allows less stress on the vines and pickers
– Select harvesting by selected rows and blocks, which are vinified separately
The soils found on the Pritchard Hill area are very rocky and reddish-orange in color. This is what the casual observer sees immediately. They are all a result of the Sonoma volcanicism that intruded the valley some 3 to 6 million years ago. The rocks range in size from baseballs to Volkswagens (only heavier) and vineyard development often requires dynamite, rock crushers and rock hammers. These volcanic rocks are considered by geologists to be core-stones from the continuous volcanic rock flows of the past. We typically have at most two to three feet of top soil and these top soils area result of the slow weathering and the decomposition of the core rocks. There are three main soil series Sobrante, Hambright and Henneke that we grow our wine grapes on and all of which extract uniqueness to our wines.
Our soils are composed of a fine silty loam mixed with fractured rock usually between 30% to 40%. These shallow top soils challenge vine’s root systems to develop, thus slowing the plant’s vigor and thus decreasing the amount of fruit we can yield per vine. The mineral content is another factor offering little of some and well a little bit more of others. We need to amend our soils with micro and macro nutrients to assist in the vine’s normal growth. In other words, without our complete attention to our vine’s health they would not grow. These low vigor, volcanic soils seem to transmit a concentration of flavor that is almost mineral by taste, tannic by weight or density and complex in aromas. Many of us see and then taste these differences in the vineyard, then the tank and eventually the barrel. Each wines expression is a result of these soils there are some slightly more reddish and others browner. We are working with a quilt of soils that offer us opportunities to micro vinify them. We take each of these wines as a layer in our blends each in to a pure expression of place.
Originally planted in 1979 to Chardonnay on St. George rootstock it was grafted over to five acres of Cabernet Sauvignon (Clone 8) and one acre each of the following: Petit Verdot, Sangiovese, Merlot and Cabernet Franc. It is spaced at 7 x 12‘ with a split canopy (or two curtains) that is cane pruned annually. The soils here are mostly Hambright on the North side and transition to Sobrante on the South which often effects picking decisions. We upgraded the trellis system in 2015 and it is now the oldest producing vineyard on Pritchard Hill.
Wines: Old Vine Cabernet Sauvignon, Le Boucher Red Wine, Proprietary Red Wine, Sangiovese, Meritaggio
This is known as our Elevation block and consists of five blocks planted to Cabernet Sauvignon (Clone 8) on rootstock 3309 in 2001. It is spaced at 5 x 7’ and trellised using a VSP or Vertical Shoot Position. We tend to harvest the most well drained corner first which is the southeast corner and a core component to our flagship Cabernet Sauvignon Elevation 1147 which is approximately the elevation of this block. The yields on this block are very low and we often call the vines ‘Bonsai Vines’ due to smaller stressed vines growing on this rock pile of Hambright/Sobrante soils. The lower part of the block offers more clay and often more back palate to the finished wines thus each block plays a part in the finished wine depending on vintage.
Wines: Cabernet Sauvignon, Elevation 1147, Proprietary Red Wine
One of the smallest of our vineyards is where the soul and power of our Three Acre bottling of Cabernet Sauvignon. This vineyard was VSP planted to Clone 337 of Cabernet Sauvignon on Root Stock 3309 in 2001 and has quite a bit more top soil than Six Acre so we see both plant material affects as well as soil (100% Hambright). There is often a higher yield than Six acre yet offers dark fruit as well as assertive tannins. We typically harvest this vineyard in four picks as one section is entirely planted to Nebbiolo from which we produce a unique varietal botting each year.
Wines: Cabernet Sauvignon, Three Acre, Nebbiolo