Odonata Wines is a small family winery owned and operated by Denis Hoey. Denis is also the winemaker.
Denis, a native of Sacramento, grew up in a family that appreciated wines and exposed him to a wide range of quality wines that helped develop his palate. In 2004 he graduated from the University of California, Santa Cruz with a degree in Business Management and soon after met Jeff Emery, owner and winemaker at Santa Cruz Mountain Vineyard. Their relationship quickly turned into an Old World apprenticeship for Denis, and he became the production manager for SCMV before starting Odonata Wines in Santa Cruz 2005.
He learned many of his cellar practices at Bison Organic Brewery in Berkeley working with a much more perishable product. This taught him the importance of giving careful attention to spoilage organisms. His continuing education involves following current trends in winemaking research from the major universities. He has traveled to Italy and France on several occasions to gain a broader perspective about European winemaking techniques and varietal fidelity. He maintains a sharp palate for quality and the nuances of wines by tasting, tasting, and more tasting. He continues to challenge himself to make better wine by learning from what others are doing well--or not so well!
He learned the fundamentals of vineyard management from Rick Anzalone in another apprentice relationship. Rick has over 30 years of experience growing grapes in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Denis now manages Falcon Hill and Machado Creek Vineyards, the source of Odonata Estate wines. (Learn More About Our Vineyards here)
In 2014 Denis left Santa Cruz Mountain Vineyards to concentrate full time on Odonata Wines. In that same year he purchased the Marilyn Remark Winery in the Santa Lucia Highlands which is now the base of operations and home to the Odonata South tasting room. Plans are in place to plant a 2 acre vineyard on the property in 2017.
Denis blends old world methods with new world technique to make nouveau-style wines. He strives to produce wines that are rich, textured, and balanced, and that respect terroir and varietal character. His success is based on careful attention to detail and the purposeful use of each step in winemaking: grape sources, fermentation technique, pressing regiment, barrel selection, and aging program. The result is clean, focused wines.
Denis is committed to expanding his horizons with respect to grape types and sources, production techniques, and aging programs.
In 2012 Denis introduced his first sparkling wine and now produces several varietals each year.
There are endless possibilities with respect to winemaking. Denis’s openness and commitment is what drives the winery to produce cutting edge wines of top quality.