THIS STORY BEGINS IN 1967 when Ridge founder, Dave Bennion, knocked on the Dusi’s front door and asked to buy 5 tons of grapes from the vineyard that was planted in 1923. Benito’s parents, Sylvester and Caterina Dusi immigrated to the United States from Italy and ultimately settled in the Paso Robles area in the 1920s. In 1924 they purchased their vineyard, where they raised three sons — Guido, Dante, and Benito. When Guido and Dante went to war in 1944, vineyard cultivation was left to their father and young Benito, who was eleven years old at the time, and he has maintained the vines until today.
WHAT MAKES THIS VINEYARD SPECIAL?
The vineyard itself is quite unique. It sits on alluvial soil washed down from the surrounding limestone hills, and is now surrounded by a modern-day strip mall and industry (cement plant), right next to highway 101. The farmhouse and outbuildings look exactly the same now as they did in a photo from the 1950’s—only the trees are taller. Benito does a meticulous job farming the vines. Harvest begins here a bit earlier than at Lytton Springs or Geyserville, which allows us to spread out our crush activities. It never hurts to have high quality grapes from a few different areas to help spread out the risk of poor set or bad weather at harvest. Wine from Benito’s vineyard is very much typical of Paso Robles zinfandels — beautiful, mouth-filling fruit (cherries, berries, spices) with soft, round tannins. Very lush and easy to drink.
DID YOU KNOW?
- Benito Dusi adopts Greyhounds.
- That his favorite dessert is Pineapple-Upside-Down cake.
- Benito also maintains an assortment of heirloom fruit trees on the property.
OUR GROWER’S SERIES
In addition to our Estate vineyards, we currently work with 17 grape growers, from Cherry Creek in the hills above Cloverdale to Benito Dusi’s vineyard just south of Paso Robles. Without these incredible and passionate people who tend to the land and care for their vines, we would not have the quality of wine that we do. The Grower’s Series is a way for us to acknowledge these key partners, as we tip our hat and thank them for all of their hard-work and dedication.
Purchase the 2015 Paso Robles Zinfandel sourced from Bentio Dusi’s Ranch