Owner & winemaker: Dani Rozman
Vineyards: Farming 2 acres, plus purchasing fruit
Vineyard management: Practicing organic with purchased fruit from organic and biodynamic vineyards
Soils: Granitic, gravel, and sandy loam
Grapes grown: Paìs, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc, Syrah
Annual production: 10,000 bottles
- Dani Rozman makes wine in both California and Chile each year, inspired by the shared history, grape varieties, and soil types in both regions.
- “Wines taste alive when they come from vines surrounded by life, terroir that speaks loudly and winemaking that doesn’t get in the way.” – Dani Rozman
Dani Rozman began farming in the Sierra Foothills in 2013, inspired by the possibility of working with Cinsault, a grape he had also worked with in Itata, Chile. He’s long split his time between North and South America, having spent time in his twenties working in Argentina and Chile. Today, he describes himself as a “flying winemaker”–he works two harvests every year, one in the Sierra Foothills and one in Itata, Chile. As he explains it, “La Onda tries to reflect the last ten years of making wine in these similar regions across the American continent, drawing on the shared viticultural history, cultivars and soil types.”
His California project is based in the northern part of the Sierra Foothills, where he farms two acres of own-rooted vines in granitic soils at 1,900-2,500ft of elevation. “The vineyards are wild, a true collection of vines, granite, red clay, insects, bees, herbs, flowers, berries, thistles and hungry animals,” Dani tells us. Farming is done entirely by hand and eschews chemicals, irrigation, and tilling. Unfortunately drought and wildfires pose a growing threat to these unique vineyards. “These days it feels like each harvest is at risk until the grapes are fully picked,” he laments. He also purchases fruit from friends farming organically or biodynamically.
Grapes are harvested by hand in several passes to ensure optimal ripeness. Dani doesn’t destem any of the grapes; rather, they are foot-stomped or pressed as whole clusters. Fermentation is spontaneous, no additives of any kind are used, and movement by gravity flow is preferred to pumps in almost every circumstance. After aging in barrel, the wines are bottled unfiltered and unfined for an additional period of bottle aging before release.