‘The Stars Aligned’: Partnership brings to life Seven Apart winery

Published October 2020 on entertainermag.com

Written by Brandie Bosworth

Scottsdale businessman Don Dady grew up in the Sonoma Valley and spent his childhood passing the vineyards, hoping to one day call one his own.

Fast forward to Dady as an adult, when he and his business partner Jason Kyle, a Tempe native and former 2009 NFL Super Bowl long snapper, were looking to enter the wine business.

The pair were touring the Beau Vigne vineyard in Napa Valley, just over the hill from Sonoma, when Dady says they began identifying unique aspects of the vineyard.

A Paradise Valley resident, Dady recalled one of his favorite professors’ teachings on how to research and evaluate investments. The professor told his students to find seven things that set the investment apart, and if they could identify seven items, it was a good opportunity.

Fulfilling his lifelong dream, Dady says the stars aligned when they acquired the vineyard and their winery Seven Apart came to fruition. The pair teamed up with winemaker Andy Erickson and are launching their first wine, the 2018 Seven Apart Shale Expedition cabernet sauvignon, this September.

As for the seven reasons Dady found to purchase the vineyard, one was the location—the top of Atlas Peak. The soil is volcanic and rocky, which Dady describes almost like walking on cobblestone—another reason to invest. The next was the fog line, where the vineyard rested 1,400 feet above. Additionally, its placement would catch cool San Francisco breezes. Other deciding factors were the equipment and the established permit to make wine. Lastly, when Erickson agreed to take on the project, his first in four years, the deal was sealed.

A former ASU student, Kyle is a co-owner of Press Coffee, so Dady says the duo had his beverage industry experience heading into their wine venture.

“(Kyle) has a lot of insight into the retail beverage world,” Dady says. “I thought it would be great to leverage those contacts.”

It was through a mutual friend that Kyle and Dady got a breakfast meeting on the calendar with Erickson. Dady, a self-proclaimed fan of Erickson, says the meeting took place just two weeks before harvest.

“Pretty soon, this brunch coffee meeting we had with Andy turned into an all-day meeting,” Dady says.

It began with a discussion over coffee before Erickson had to leave for another commitment. However, he asked to return later in the afternoon to tour the vineyard. The three men spent the rest of the day walking the vineyard and sharing their visions, Dady says. The next day, Erickson said he would love to be involved with Seven Apart.

“He’s really taken on a lot of personal pride in what’s going on out there,” Dady says. “We are extremely excited to have Andy on our team.”

Erickson turned the winery organic and took a hands-on approach with the farming. He cares about the environment and made changes on how they were watering the land to make it better.

The location was best known for its cabernet sauvignon, so Dady says the businessmen took an already amazing vineyard and built their winery on top for production control using state-of-the-art machinery.

“We bought automated pumps, optical sorters, all the best equipment we could find,” Dady says.

As a detail-oriented person, he says every aspect of their wine matters to him. From the growing process to the flavor, the bottle design and even the cork.

Seven Apart’s cabernet is characterized by a black-purple color with a toffee, graphite and black cherry aroma. Cacao, cedar and star anise layers lay in the drinker’s glass with flavors of black plum, blackberry cobbler and hints of vanilla left on their palate.

Those who sign up for Seven Apart’s allocation list can purchase a bottle of cabernet.

“There’s a thousand decisions that have to be made throughout the growing season and ultimately before that bottle of wine ends up in your glass,” Dady says. “Making a great wine is about making a thousand good decisions.”