Harvest 2010: The Dusi Ranch!

As I noted in a previous post, Harvest 2010 is picking up steam here at Monte Bello, with the first arrival of fruit from the Dusi Ranch in Paso Robles coming in just late last week. The fruit from this property is always a joy to sample; it’s quite an unusual vineyard, both in general, and in our specific portfolio. For one thing, it’s planted entirely to zinfandel, which is extremely unusual for a Californian vineyard with 80+ year-old vines. It’s also the only vineyard we work with that is located south of the Monte Bello vineyards.

Anyhow, since we’re talking Paso, I thought I’d share some recent pics that our Marketing Manager Heidi Nigen took; she was down in Paso with our VP of Vineyard Operations David Gates last week, taking a preliminary look at the Dusi fruit in expectation of its imminent arrival.

Take Me Home, Paso Roads ...

The Dusi Ranch


First RIDGE Zinfandel Paso Robles: 1967
Location: 3 miles south of Paso Robles, east of 101.
Elevation: 760′
Soils: Rocky and gravelly with some areas of light soil
Age of vines: Zinfandel, planted 1923. (40 acres).
Training: Head trained (no trellis), spur pruned. Dry farmed.
Yields: 1.5 – 2.0 tons/acre
Climate: Hot days, cool nights.
Exposure: Full exposure in all directions
Owner: Benito Dusi


Dusi Ranch is the only Ridge vineyard south of the San Francisco Bay area. It is planted entirely to zinfandel, unusual in a vineyard more than eighty years old. Purchased by Sylvester and Catarina Dusi in 1924, the property has been farmed for many years by their son Benito, the present owner.

Benito Dusi!

Categories: Events, History, Monte Bello, Varietals & Blends, Vineyards, Zinfandel

Tags: , , , , ,

3 replies

  1. Benito, it my cousin, I’ve never met him (sad faced) but have been proud to call him family. His and his family have accomplished much and contributed so much to the community. And I truly hope that it continues through many more years to come. Great job, Cousin. Someday, I truly hope to meet you.

  2. Christopher,
    Great picture of Beni. The guy is absolutely ageless. When you drive by his vnyd going into Paso, you’d swear he maintains the thing w/ fingernail clippers!!
    One year at HdR, I talked Paul & Dave into taking me over there to meet Beni. It was the highlight of HdR that year for me. His quiet/infectuous laugh and the twinkle in his eyes always pop into my head when I drink a Dusi Zin.
    You probably don’t know the story: Beni is an incredibly meticulous grape farmer. No Fukuoka or Bio-stuff for him. Back in the good ole days…back when Paul made Amador Zin(hint/hint), he would make his Zinfandel Essence from Beni’s DusiRanch grapes. But to leave those grapes out there on the vine so long to get uber-ripe was soooo against the grain of what Beni had learned as a grape farmer, that it stressed him unmercifully. I’m sure he thought that his neighbors were laughing their heads off, convinced that ole Beni had lost it and was ready for the loony bin. Finally, the stress of growing Essence grapes got the best of Beni and he put his foot down and told Paul…”No more”. Those Dusi Essences were incredible; huge boysenberry fruit w/o the raisened/pruney character those wines can sometimes show.

  3. I met Benito in 1999, on our 25th Wedding anniversary trip – driving from LA to San Francisco! What a lovely man. He insisted that we have a bag of cherries each (apparantly his other crop!), so as to stop any arguments between us as we drove away!


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