Issue 1 April 2010  

Greetings from Lawrence Dunham Vineyards

LDV Winery
Welcome to the first edition of the Lawrence Dunham Vineyards newsletter. It is hard to believe that it is just over two years since we purchased our vineyard property and here we are getting ready
to release our first wines!
LDV Winery
First harvest Petite Sirah, Fall 2009
We have gone from 0 to 100 miles per hour in a very short time, but it is very exciting:  at the same time challenging and rewarding. We found the perfect place, cleared sixteen acres of land and planted our first vines.
LDV Winery
Eppy, Curt & Peggy during the 2009 harvest

Curt and I started collecting wine because the passion of the winemakers we met was contagious. This passion and commitment to quality was reflected in their wine.

We feel the same way about sustainable agriculture as well as the art of quality winemaking. It has amazed us that people want to know more about sustainability
and winemaking, and we are committed
to sharing our journey.
That is why we created our first Lawrence Dunham Vineyards club, called Chiricahua Circle. It is a founder’s group limited to 75 individuals or families that are interested in getting involved in all aspects of the farming and winemaking process. Chiricahua Circle members will come to the vineyard and participate in planting, harvest, blending, and private special events. The club is intended for families that want to get more involved than just drinking a great bottle of wine; Circle members actually want to roll their sleeves up and experience the winemaking process. Click here and become a member today.
Our interim website www.ldvwinery.com is live and we are working on the permanent website. In the near future, you will be able to follow the growth and development of Lawrence Dunham Vineyards and purchase our wines on line. We hope you will visit often and pass the link to your friends.

It is our vision that the website will provide you information about the winemaking and vineyard management process. By following along with our progress, we hope you will become as excited as we are and want to get involved in Lawrence Dunham Vineyards activities and events. The website will also be a place to interact with us and learn about upcoming events.

We are putting the final touches on our 4,000 square foot winery. We took the existing steel industrial building and are transforming it into a modern winemaking facility and tasting room. The building includes a 1,500 square foot temperature controlled cool room where our wine barrels and bottled wines will be aged and stored. We will also be using this room
to cold soak and ferment some of our newly picked grapes. It will be nice to
have some space!
LDV Winery
Painting the winery building exterior
The 700 square foot work area houses our equipment and sanitation facilities and the
wine laboratory. Our 1,600 square foot covered crush pad will provide lots of room in
the shade for grape crushing and processing. The 200 square foot tasting area is being developed for tasting and intimate events. The entire facility is accessible for those with disabilities.
The 2009 harvest exceeded our expectations, but the excitement was tempered by the loss of 2,000 vines to a freak hard freeze just a few weeks later.
We anticipate 2010 to be an incredible
year and want you to be a part of the excitement. Our terroir promises to produce fantastic grapes. We hope to be harvesting a bountiful crop of Petite Sirah this fall along with limited amounts of Viognier, Syrah and Grenache. We also
plan to purchase additional grapes from
the same Chiricahua Foothills area to
allow us to produce more wine.

LDV Winery
Vines after winter pruning
The composition of our first release is a story yet to be told; the final decisions on the 2008 vintage will be made over the next few weeks. Our first wines will be available in August 2010.

We personally invite each of you to be a part of the Lawrence Dunham Vineyards experience and look forward to sharing our special place and exceptional wines with you in the very near future!

Best Regards,
Curt Dunham and Peggy Fiandaca

LDV Winery

Curt in the Dirt – The Vineyard Update

LDV Winery
Curt in the field checking grapes

Springtime brings a lot of excitement around here. We have bud break in the vineyard which means that from this point forward we wish for warm, sunny days and temperate nights through harvest this fall.

We are getting ready to plant another two acres (1,800 plants) of the Rhone white varietal Viognier (VEE-ohn-yay) which we think has a promising future in the Chiricahua Foothills.
We will also be replacing the 2,000 Grenache and Syrah vines that were killed by the October 2009 freeze. That will bring us up to about 8.5 acres total. About half way there! Planting will take about two weeks.

We just completed disking the vineyard to not only turn over the winter weeds that have popped up but to also help warm the vineyard. Freshly turned dirt is darker and absorbs more sunlight and heat during the day. This extra little bit of warmth could really come in handy if we have a cold evening after bud break. There are lots of little tricks that can be applied to help the vineyard but Mother Nature, as we have learned, is still the judge, jury, and in some cases the executioner!

LDV Winery
Vineyard after 2009 planting
We plan to start spreading some organic materials and fertilizers in the vineyard soon after planting.  We have just increased the irrigation frequency to bring up moisture levels for bud break and to prepare for the warm weather just ahead.

LDV Winery

Winery Updates

LDV Winery
Curt racking 2009 wines

Our 2008 Syrah and Grenache wines are still in the barrels. We will be holding a tasting panel (sampling various blends to see what tastes best) this month to determine what wine or wines we will make and bottle from this vintage. The panel is very important because it is helpful to the winemaker to get various opinions in order to make the final decision about the wines. Once all of the opinions have been expressed, it is up to the winemaker to make the final call.
We just completed the first racking of our 2009 wines. Racking is a process that is used to aerate the wines and also remove solids that have settled to the bottom of the barrels after fermentation. These wines have been resting in their barrels since October. While racking, we taste each barrel to make sure nothing abnormal is occurring that might taint the wine. All 22 barrels of Grenache, Petite Sirah, and Mouvedre checked out ok!

Click here to read the spring 2010 winemaker interview.

LDV Winery

Wine Pairings


With springtime here and the buds breaking in the vineyard, it is time to
lighten up on our meals. One of our favorite light appetizers is Jicama Shrimp Tacos. This take on traditional tacos is
low calorie and a wonderful way to start
a meal or serve as a light snack. We like
to serve these appetizers with a chilled
glass of Viognier.

This grape varietal is going to be the flagship white at Lawrence Dunham Vineyards.
LDV Winery
Viognier with Jicama Shrimp Tacos
LDV Winery
Peggy and Curt's first taste of LDV wine

Viognier is a highly aromatic and fruity wine and is a nice accompaniment to spicy foods. If you can’t wait for a Lawrence Dunham Vineyards Viognier, we recommend trying
a wine from Santa Ynez Valley in California. Jaffurs, Fess Parker, and Zaca Mesa typically do a nice job with this grape and are wines we enjoy.

We just returned from a trip to the region and met with the winemakers from these wineries. Boy, did we learn a lot.

Jicama Shrimp Taco Appetizers
Serve 8 (2 tacos per person)
Click here for a printable version of this recipe

Prepare Salsa -
2 cups diced tomatoes
1 cup finely chopped white onion
1 cup roughly chopped fresh cilantro
2 seeded and ribbed finely chopped jalapeno peppers
Salt, pepper, and fresh lime juice to taste when ready to serve.
Mix all ingredients and set aside.

Marinate Shrimp -
1 pound of cooked shrimp roughly chopped
Tabasco Green Pepper Sauce
Toss cooked shrimp with the Tabasco Green Pepper Sauce.
Cover and let marinade for at least 30 minutes in the refrigerator.

Prepare Jicama Taco Shells -
1.5 to 2.0 pound fresh whole jicama
Peel jicama and using a mandolin thinly slice the jicama (as thin as you can get it). Try to get the pieces as round as possible similar to a tortilla. This might take some practice. If you can get them real thin, you might want to use two when assembling the tacos.

Prepare Salad -
Mixed greens
Ripe avocado, peeled and cut into chunks
Juice of fresh limes
Salt and pepper to taste.

Click here for a printable version of this recipe

LDV Winery

Upcoming Events


Lawrence Dunham Vineyards is committed to giving back to the community even before we sell our first bottle! Over the past year LDV has provided support to:
  • Valley Youth Theatre
  • Scottsdale Training and Rehabilitation Services (STARS)
  • Make-A-Wish Foundation
  • Fountain Hills Community Foundation
  • Fountain Hills Cultural and Civic Association In-Home Concert
LDV Winery
Curt and Peggy at a charity fundraiser
Chiricahua Circle members are helping to plant late April and bottle in early May 2010. Join the fun. Email us at info@LDVWinery.com if you would like to join us at the vineyard, and we can share information about area accommodations. 

August 2010 – first wine release; stay tuned for wine release events.