Our Story

Dan & Cindy were once big fans of Zinfandel. It was their wine of choice…until they happened upon Pinot noir. It was love at first sip. They became enamored with the persona of Pinot noir, which offered an overall wine "experience" like none other.

Pinot noir is truly an amazing red wine. It offers such a wide range of aromas. It's silky and elegant…a sort of dance for the senses! A quality Pinot noir is like poetry in a bottle, and simply irresistible! And as a result, the conversion from Zinfandel to Pinot noir was in play!

It all began once upon a time when Dan happened upon Cindy twice during the same weekend, because of an unexpected flood…an amazing story better told in the Tasting Room and Marketplace one day; two unique, diverse individuals…polar opposites really, "A" type and "Z" type joining together, and so became the dawning of "DANCIN." In 1996, they took their first viticulture class together at UC Davis and it was only a matter of time that Dan would want to get back to his roots…the roots of farming, of tending the vineyards just like his grandparents and dad did in Italy. The journey towards planting a vineyard seemed to be on the horizon, but it would take more than a decade to find the right site.

Fast forward to 2006 when Dan & Cindy discovered a beautiful 10 acre property on a gorgeous hillside near historic Jacksonville, Oregon. It would be perfect! But the timing just wasn't right as they had other personal commitments elsewhere in the state and hadn't yet put their house on the market. Then one year later almost to the very day, the opportunity to relocate presented itself once again and with commitments now fulfilled at last, the timing was now right! And that same property they previously discovered…was still available!

Shortly after purchasing the property, they contacted Randy Gold, the "go to guy" for viticulture expertise in the region. And after several sessions with Randy, the decision to plant a vineyard was made. (But little did they know that this would be phase one of three separate plantings in addition to an expansion onto a neighboring five acre parcel where the Tasting Room and Cave would be built.) The viticulture and enology classes at UC Davis and Oregon State University continued in earnest and there were meetings with Greg Jones, the "climate guru" from Southern Oregon University, and Porter Lombard who had done many years of wonderful research at Oregon State University. The soil was tested, poison oak removed, but there was one very important question that needed an answer: What variety would harmonize best with their site?

Randy had suggested Pinot noir, and while Dan was attending a class at UC Davis, he was encouraged by the instructor to talk to Glenn McGourty, the Viticulture and Plant Science Advisor for Mendocino County, which includes the Anderson Valley where world class Pinot noir is produced. The timing was perfect because Dan and Cindy were also enrolled in a class at the Oregon State University Extension Center the following week, which was located just a few miles from the DANCIN Vineyards site where Glenn just happened to be a presenter. There would be many discussions between Dan, Cindy and Glenn beyond their initial meeting after class that day resulting in Glenn's conclusion that Pinot noir was the clear choice! Glenn offered many compelling reasons, not the least of which was the similarities between the Anderson Valley and their site. And so Randy's suggestion was confirmed. The really interesting part of the story is that the instructor of that first viticulture class back in 1996 first attended by Dan and Cindy, was none other than…Glenn McGourty!

Fast forward to today. Dan and Cindy are truly blessed to have the opportunity to farm three separate micro-vineyards of Pinot noir. (Chardonnay has been added to their program as a natural complement to Pinot noir.) It's been a life changing experience and a lot of hard work! But it's really cool to be able to work in a "field" that they both truly enjoy! Dan is the "winegrape artist" and laborer, while Cindy shares her passion for baking by creating unique artisan wood-fired pizzas and other pairings, and co-manages the Tasting Room and Marketplace with Dan. For more about our Tasting Room and Marketplace, please click here.

Dan & Cindy want to express their sincere appreciation to the following gifted people for their assistance with illustrating the essence of DANCIN through design and photography: Jodi Keer, Paula Sugarman, Rachell Coe, David Gibb, Judy Monroe and Kirk McKenzie.