Photos: Kara Stewart
Dakaro Cellars in Whitmore
A delicious change is sweeping the north state, as wine lovers discover tucked-away treasures in the foothills and valleys of far Northern California. Boutique wineries seem to be springing up in ideal locations for the grapes and the wines they produce. David and Kathy Roth have developed just such a vineyard and winery in Whitmore. They have been creating wonderful wines from their eight acres of carefully chosen varietals that blend beautifully to please the palates of a growing fan base.
Recently, Raymond and Maria Gonzales stopped by Dakaro Cellars to meet the owners and enjoy some conversation on the veranda overlooking the gently sloping vineyard. The couple buy their Dakaro Cellars wine at Whitmore Store but hadn’t, until this idyllic interlude, taken time to meet the winemakers. Like many transplanted city folks, the couple have escaped to a quiet country life in Whitmore, but they still appreciate some finer things like well-crafted wines.
The Roths started many years ago with a passion and a dream. They both went back to school to learn everything they needed to know to begin their new venture. Kathy studied sustainable viticulture and David the art of winemaking. Climate research and road trips landed them in the perfect location, where in 2006 they began preparing their land. Big Spring Vineyards sits just off Whitmore Road. Halfway up the winding gravel road, a garden area looks back downslope over the vineyard with the winery hidden over the ridge above. The Roths and their son, Ahren, planted their first grapes In 2007. With the blessing of abundant water from Fern Spring that feeds their vines through a gravity flow watering system, they look forward to adding another eight acres of vines to the eight currently in production.
“The vineyards are producing Rhone and Bordeaux varietals, both red and white, as well as a few Italian and Spanish varietals. Warm days, cool nights and mild fall weather ripen each to perfection,” they report, as they look forward each year since 2012 to the challenge and the joy of sitting together for their blending “experiments.” They have strategically planted their grapes in proportion to the blends they anticipate. Blending trials are what make the wine special and slightly different from year to year, they say. They make wine “by flavor,” not by the numbers. The Roths’ ultimate goal is to create a flavor that is enjoyed as “a mouth full of wine.”
The Roths belong to a loose-knit community of winemakers and viticulturists who have found unique and productive microclimates in the North State. They enjoy the exchange of ideas and information with other local entrepreneurs who are realizing that they are pioneering and growing a new viticultural area that competes with other well-known wine communities on the West Coast. The Roths look forward to expanding their exposure as the North State embraces a growing agricultural industry of vineyards and wineries being recognized throughout the industry for their quality products.
When they first joined the winemakers of Shasta County, the Roths said, people didn’t know that wine was being made in the area. Now they find a better quality and less compromising in the growing North State industry. They love the idea of promoting the wine culture of the North State and encouraging their neighbors near and far to “buy local.”
Dakaro Cellars wines are found on the shelves of many North State markets and specialty stores and are served in restaurants from Chico to Redding. A list of their wines and distribution locations can be found on their website. The Roths invite visitors. They will enjoy sharing a glass of their best on the veranda.