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Carneros Standout Donum Estate To Double Capacity With New Winery

September 5, 2018

The Donum Estate—high-end producer of single vineyard Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from Carneros, Anderson Valley, and Russian River Valley—is set to bring production in-house beginning with the 2019 harvest, thanks to a new winery project currently in development.

Donum president Anne Moller-Racke tells SND the roughly $6 million facility is expected to be completed by year-end and will handle all of Donum’s wine production. Currently, the Donum family of wines is produced at Santa Rosa’s Punchdown custom crush facility. Overall, Donum has seen an investment in the range of $30 million since being acquired in 2011 by a group of investors led by Hong Kong-based businessman Allan Warburg, co-founder of Bestseller Fashion Group China.

“The new production facility marks the completion of our dreams to have everything take place on the estate,” Moller-Racke says. Donum’s new winery will be able to produce 10,000 cases a year, about double the company’s current production. Moller-Racke has been working the Donum vineyard since the early 1980s when it was part of the Buena Vista Carneros Estate, and she founded Donum in 2001.

Donum’s portfolio is positioned squarely in the luxury segment: the Donum Chardonnay retails for $60, the estate Pinot Noir range sells for $80, and the Reserve wines range from $100-$120 a 750-ml. There’s also a limited rosé bottling that sells at $35-$40. Donum’s Pinot Noirs have garnered a bevy of 90-plus scores from Wine Spectator over the years, including eight wines rated at 95 points or above. The company does about 70% of its business through its direct-to-consumer sales, but the wines are also available in limited locations in markets like California, New York, Nevada, Texas, Florida, and Boston.

Donum has 130 acres in Carneros, 20 acres in the Russian River Valley, and nine acres under contract in Anderson Valley. Donum also recently acquired 100 acres in the Sonoma Coast, of which Moller-Racke says about 20 are plantable. The company intends to begin planting that plot, called Platt Ranch, in 2020.

With the winery’s completion approaching, hospitality is also growing in importance for Donum, which opened a new tasting room at its estate late last year. “Visitors coming to Donum will have the opportunity for the first time to see how we make our Pinot Noir and Chardonnay,” says Moller-Racke. “The visitor experience is very intimate and by reservation only so we can provide a unique visit tailored to each guest.” The guest experience includes a stroll through the estate vineyards, which are dotted with sculptures from renowned artists like Ai Weiwei, Keith Haring, and Yayoi Kusama.—Shane English

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