Vol 8: One Thousand Perfect Decisions | Seven Apart Winemaking Philosophy
“My wine philosophy is my life philosophy. Everything matters.”
~ Don Dady, Seven Apart Founder
The Journal | Vol. 8
Consistently great wine never happens by accident. Fine winemaking is an intricate craft made with intention, solid technical know-how, unwavering dedication, and, of course, some good fortune.
Since Seven Apart’s inception in 2018, founder Don Dady has had a crystal-clear vision of the winery’s winemaking philosophy. Undoubtedly, this steadfast vision has helped catalyze Seven Apart’s stellar reputation as a leading Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon producer. Throughout the complex process of winemaking, Don has always been confident that a serious approach would set his wine apart. “Winemaking is a thousand different decisions’, explains Don. “If you make a thousand good decisions, and Mother Nature cooperates, you end up making a world-class wine.”
“My wine philosophy is my life philosophy. Everything matters,” Don opens. “Your brand is a sum of all your impressions, and so everything you do has an impact.”
Beyond merely good, Don strives for perfection. That’s why the Seven Apart team is instructed to manage every facet of the vineyard meticulously. From seasonal viticultural practices to deciding on the opportune time to start harvest, every decision ultimately strengthens the Seven Apart’s value chain. This is of the utmost importance to Don’s philosophy on winemaking.
“The reality is that if you do everything to the best of your abilities, only then do you have a chance of making great wine,” he affirms.
Savor The Moment
Don has always appreciated wine’s elegantly transformative nature. He says he treasures its extraordinary ability to slow down a moment, taking the speed and noise of our daily life and casting it away as you focus on what the wine has to say in the glass in front of you.
“When I have an amazing glass of wine, the world stops for a second. I sit back and appreciate the sensorial experience. The aromas, the flavors, and the overall complexity”. In a world where time is a precious commodity, Don regards this as a rare gift. “I savor the moment after my initial sip and enjoy the layers of the wine unfold,” he emphasizes. “It tells a story, but you have to listen carefully.”
It’s clear to see that with this mindset, Don’s purpose is to bring this feeling to everyone who drinks Seven Apart wine. “From the moment I found Stags Ridge Vineyard, I saw an opportunity to grow something special out there,” he says.
A High Level Of Involvement
Seven Apart has built its brand on a foundation of care and passion for wine. For Don, a vital aspect of these pillars is attention to detail – whether or not nature is in their favor that season. It imbues the act of winemaking with so much more meaning and joy. “At the end of the day, if you’re going to pour your heart and soul into something, you need to care about it all.”
Don is not one to shy away from failure either. He approaches both daily life and winemaking with a mantra of ‘no regrets.’ For him, putting his heart into his passion is worth the risk. “I’m okay failing if I’ve given my all. What I’m not okay with is failing if I didn’t do my best.”
The Seven Apart team has worked tirelessly on refining their winemaking skills to tailor their offering for their clients. To do this, they focus on building trusted relationships with a small group of experienced artisanal cooperages, always making sure that there is an affinity between their taste and vision.
The winery aims to reflect the story of the vineyard through all it produces. Seven Apart’s Stags Vineyard is a sizable ten acres, with eight of those planted. Within the terroir is a range of microclimates and varied soil structures, all of which impact the outcome of the fruit characteristics and bring forth diverse and complex wines.
As Cabernet Sauvignon specialists, a high level of involvement goes into producing their wines. Tastings of the same wine can sometimes happen over four times until the desired standard of perfection is achieved, with every note harmonized and balanced. Don credits his team for their expertise and understanding of wine, saying:
“While I love tasting the wine, and as much as I might think I influence the outcome, the truth is that my world-class winemaking team led by Andy Erickson makes the key decisions. They are light years ahead of me, and that’s exactly why I’m so pleased to have them crafting Seven Apart. It takes a village.”
In The Pursuit Of Perfection
Seven Apart currently produces four distinct Cabernet Sauvignons: The Expedition, Shale, Basalt, and Summit. Each one has a distinctive flavor profile that wine lovers will effortlessly pick up on. The Shale, Basalt, and Summit are all single vineyard wines. While some may think it is redundant to create three types of Cabernet Sauvignon from one vineyard, Don believes that the ability to utilize every aspect of the vineyard’s potential is what makes Seven Apart so remarkable:
“It is so interesting to see how the vineyard itself undergoes different expressions and evolves. You can take the same rootstock, the same year, the same vineyard manager, and even the same winemaker, but you’ll receive three different expressions of wine. Each vineyard is like a person with a unique character.” Don ends: “For me, the motivation was always about trying to make absolutely the best wines we could make. We’ve been passionate about everything we could do to make sure the vineyard was in the best shape it could be.”
One thing is clear, with this sophisticated mixture of passion and purpose in the pursuit of perfection, Seven Apart’s winemaking philosophy will stand the test of time.