Oregon Barbera and Dancin Is a Love Story
Romance and wine have gone hand in hand for centuries, and it’s only fitting that the creation of DANCIN and OREGON BARBERA has its roots in a love story. The tale of Dan and Cindy has all the markings of a great love story. It’s full of passion, serendipity, and fated meetings. The story is best heard while sipping wine in the couple’s tasting room, maybe even from Dan himself.
Suffice to say, inclement weather and a chance meeting twice on the same day brought the pair together. They were married three months later. It was only a year after the couple met that they started to take a serious interest in the wine industry. “We just became very interested in wine. We continued taking classes. We started looking at land. But nothing really seemed to work out. Until we moved to Oregon. It became a sort of field of dreams!”
It was Dan’s dream to plant Italian varieties on his new land, specifically Barbera, but the high elevation, northeast facing site was better suited for another wonderful variety they also loved, Pinot noir! And they would make up to fifteen separate expressions with each vintage, with Forbes noting that DANCIN is one of the most innovative producers of Pinot noir in the region.
Then Came Barbera
But Barbera was still on their minds. Like Pinot noir, it is such a food-friendly and delicious wine. Soon thereafter, Dan received a call from a winemaker who was managing a newly planted vineyard and asked if he was interested in sourcing some Italian varieties. Dan visited the site and in 2013, DANCIN crafted an Italian blend of Barbera, Sangiovese and Nebbiolo aged for 17 months in French oak and named it the Tribute. It was to be a tribute to Dan’s southern Italian heritage and the place he visited 45 years ago in his dad’s hometown, which was to be one of the inspirations for the tasting room design and layout at DANCIN here in southern Oregon. In 2014, they discovered another great source for Barbera, which was much closer to the DANCIN estate, and the rest is history.
In 2014 and following, the Tribute would be made exclusively with the Barbera grape. In 2017, they added a second Barbera to their lineup and named it the Onore, meaning “to honor.” It’s in honor of that place in Sicily and the genuine hospitality and wonderful foods both Dan and Cindy were fortunate to experience at their respective homes as they were growing up. “My mom would prepare her homemade pasta sauce (known as gravy) each Thursday. It would be on the stove all day. Then, she’d place it in the refrigerator until Sunday when we’d sit down as a family and feast on whatever homemade pasta (and meatballs) she had made that week. Gnocchi was my favorite; not made with potato, but instead with semolina flour and other wonderful ingredients, each gnocchi would be individually rolled on a wooden stamp by hand!”
Cindy learned to cook and serve others through the mentoring of her mom, a wonderful chef. Multi-coursed meals were the norm with hours of preparation in advance. Good food alongside food-friendly wines like Pinot noir and Barbera shared around a table tends to result in great conversation and camaraderie akin to what happens on a regular basis at DANCIN.