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DANCIN owner and winemaker are a good match

Although DANCIN Vineyards owner Dan Marca and his new winemaker, Bryan Wilson, have entirely different personalities, they are a winemaking match.

Both are detail men. Both are deep and eloquent thinkers about the science and art of winemaking and the hospitality inherent in the craft. Together, they raise the discussion to an entirely different plane. During the course of our discussion, they waxed poetic, philosophic, and at times rhapsodic.

Marca says winemaking “is about the details” and “attention to detail is integral to making good wine.”

According to Wilson, one of the things that attracted him to DANCIN was Marca’s focus on detail. When it comes to winemaking, Wilson says, “it’s the minutiae that moves the dial.”

At the same time, both men seem to know when to let go and let nature take its course. For the detail-oriented, having a successful harvest often means controlling as many variables as possible. Are the grapes ripening too slowly or too quickly? Is it too wet or too dry? Should I adjust the crop load? Should I irrigate, and if so, when and how much? How should I manage the canopy?

After 30 years of experience, Wilson says he has stopped trying so hard to influence nature. Marca echoes this sentiment, observing that, “we only have so much control.” Letting the vines and the grapes be what they’re meant to be “allows us to show the vintage variations.” When winemakers allow the grapes to express themselves, the resulting wine lets us “reminisce about the season that was.”

This has been a big year for DANCIN. Northwest Wine Press named DANCIN 2017 Oregon Winery of the Year, and Southern Oregon Magazine named it The Very Best Winery of 2017. On the medal front, DANCIN received three gold medals at the 2017 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition, and a gold and double gold from the 2017 Great Northwest/Cascadia Wine Competition.

One of those gold medals was for the 2014 Tribute Barbera, one of DANCIN’s expanding Italian program honoring the Marcas’ Italian heritage. When DANCIN released the Tribute in 2015, Marca sent a case to his grandmother in Phoenix, Arizona. He spoke with her, now 103 years old, via Skype recently. During that conversation, grandmother grilled Marca on whether he had accomplished a set of tasks she had given him. He’s working on it.

On June 4-5, DANCIN will hold two winemaker dinners. In addition to fabulous food and wine pairings, the dinners will feature intermezzo performances by the ballet dancer featured on DANCIN’s new labels. Marca said it will be a “dinner for the senses.” Tickets were offered to wine club members earlier this month, but a few may still be available. Call the tasting room at 541-245-1133 for information.

— Kevin Breck is a Jacksonville freelance writer and winemaker in training. Reach him at rogue.enofiles@gmail.com.