2010 Zinfandel Rose
2012 Barbera Dessert Wine
Open house weekend: Dec. 6-7, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. Enjoy King’s Killer Meatballs and a variety of tasty appetizers alongside Vista Del Rey wines during this annual holiday event open to the public.
Vista Del Rey’s Dave King has navigated his life from sailor to vintner
Sitting in his home at Vista Del Rey Vineyards owner Dave King describes his wine label, unchanged since its creation over 18 years ago, as “simple but relevant.”
The steps which brought Dave to his current position reflect his own qualities: purposeful, direct and informed. Although he came to winemaking via an unusual path, the final destination suits Dave perfectly.
As he navigates succinctly through his personal history, it is clear that each period of his life could yield hours of stories if the storyteller were not so focused on how his journey led him to winemaking in Paso Robles.
Dave moved from his childhood home in Southern California to attend Oregon State University and earned a degree in Agricultural Engineering. While at Oregon State, to avoid being draft-eligible, Dave gained a Navy commission through NROTC.
He subsequently served in the Navy for more than two decades, retiring as Commander. Between five ship tours, he continued to learn and to expand his fields of knowledge through experiences in undersea surveillance and teaching at the Naval Academy. He also completed a Masters in Oceanography.
Unexpectedly, the Navy is also where Dave learned about wines. “The Navy tours exposed me to world-class wines,” Dave says. During the five years before making the move to Paso Robles, Dave expanded this interest into an in-depth study and analysis of the California wine country.
Winery dream becomes a reality
This study was facilitated by the independent newsletter “King’s Korner of the Wine World” which he wrote as a way to catalogue his learning and help others to explore the wine world.
It was during this time that the dream of owning a winery, where he could put his knowledge into practice, was born.
As he traveled California, Dave began to search for the wine region that would best serve his plans. He was looking for quality of life and affordability, and found both in Paso Robles. He also found support in the form of local winemakers. As he puts it, “I picked some people who would be hard on me and some who would be kind.”
With this support system in place he purchased the land that was to become Vista Del Rey Vineyards (View of the King). Soon thereafter, Dave met the woman who would later become his wife, Carol Dehart-King.
Focusing on the grapes
Dave and Carol implemented an earth-conscious and sustainable grape-growing practice. Dave does not spray for pests or weeds, and focuses on the end result – the grapes – rather than trying to achieve a pristine vineyard.
Their dry-farmed Zinfandel and Barbera reflect the weather patterns of each vintage, and though each vintage retains the basic characteristics of the vines, no two vintages are the same. “You are really tasting a manifestation of the growing season,” says Dave.
With an excellent portfolio of “user-friendly, food-friendly” Zinfandel, Barbera and Barbera Port, the wines of Vista Del Rey are the result of a focused dream put into practice by a man who knew where he was coming from and where he wanted to go. Make plans to visit the Vista Del Rey tasting room and mingle with Dave and Carol. Enjoy an offering of wines and, if you’re lucky, Dave – a most interesting storyteller – just may share a story or two along the way.
— Kate Joyce
Vista Del Rey
7340 Drake Road
Paso Robles, CA 93446
Open most Sundays 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Weekdays by appointment only
Special event weekends