Meet Cast Wines, a West Coast winery with a bevy of Dallasites behind it. Located in a gorgeous setting in the Dry Creek Valley of Sonoma County, Cast Wines is just the sort of boutique-y type spot that make wine country visits a pleasure — a place to experience the delightful lifestyle Northern California wine country has to offer, connect with the owners, and find unique wines you can’t buy in a big box liquor store. Lakewood residents Jack Seifrick and his wife, Ann, launched the new venture in 2011 with the support of Texas friends.
Cast Wines began as occasional trips to Northern Cali wine country, which rolled into the next phase of an entrepreneurial career for Seifrick. The Harvard MBA and Arthur Anderson accounting firm alum’s background includes running a successful commercial real estate business in Dallas. He also founded Professional Bank in Lakewood, backed by numerous friends who did well when the bank sold to Veritex in 2010. The Seifricks’ circle included many Lakewood neighbors and friends from Ursuline Academy, where their daughters went to school. They often socialized and, even traveled, with members of the group.
The Sonoma County area northwest of Napa was a favorite destination. With smaller-scale wineries that tended to be family-owned, Sonoma County seemed less commercial than Napa. It offered a wide array of growing conditions, and, hence, of wines. “Within a short drive, there’s world-class Zinfandel and Petite Sirah in Dry Creek Valley, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir in the Russian River Valley, and Cabernet Sauvignon in Alexander Valley,” Seifrick said of the area.
On a magical trip to bike Sonoma terrain during harvest time in 2012, they came across a beautiful property which had a somewhat run down house but well-established grape vines. The Seifricks immediately felt as if a spell had been cast over them — Vineyard Fever, you might say. Real estate prices were relatively low in Sonoma. It was a good time to buy. Now empty nesters, the couple decided starting a wine business would be the next chapter in their lives.
Returning to Dallas, they shared the idea with friends who responded, “I’m in.” The Dallas contingent, about 30 families, make up about three-quarters of the investor group Seifrick put together to buy the property, hire a stellar winemaker, and set up production in Dry Creek Valley. They christened the business “Cast Wines” for the sense of enchantment the property exudes with its spectacular view overlooking scenic Bradford Mountain and the Western hills of Dry Creek Valley, a perfect set up for a tasting room terrace where visitors can take in the vista while enjoying their wine.
The Seifricks now maintain a home in both Dallas and California. Cast Wines makes the most of the varied terroir in the region, producing about 3,500 cases annually made up of eight varietals from area grapes, including Zinfandel and Petite Sirah sourced from their onsite vineyard, Grey Palm; Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from the Russian River Valley; and Cabernet Sauvignon from Alexander Valley. Just this past April, the young winery landed two 90-plus ratings from lauded wine critic Robert Parker’s platform, The Wine Advocate.
Cast Wines are sold only at the winery, online, or at occasional events Seifrick hosts in Dallas. Travels to Sonoma are now extra special to their investors, who enjoy not only the tangible connection to the product, but also events Seifrick sets up for them in the wine country each year such as visits to artisan cheesemakers and creameries, olive press operations, and garden tours.
The Cast Wine tasting room is open to the public for an experience Seifrick describes as relaxed and laid-back. On weekends (and by appointment on weekdays) there are vineyard and winery tours; daily, the tasting room is open to visitors. All details can be found on the Cast Wines website. There’s a special welcome for Texans at Cast Wines, of course. Seifrick tells us that’s a Sonoma norm. “Outside of San Franciscans, the No. 1 group of people who visit the wine country are Texans” he remarked. “Like Colorado, it’s a place to escape from the heat in the summer. And, there are a lot of people from Texas here who have winery interests here and second homes.”
When’s the best time to visit Sonoma County? “There’s really no bad time of year,” said Seifrick. “Harvest time, Labor Day weekend through Halloween is the busiest time. Winter months are the rainy season — not necessarily a bad thing. “We prefer to come in February and March when it’s not busy.” he continued. (Notably, that’s the same thing their fellow Cali vineyard owners Kathryn and Craig Hall said in an interview for a post earlier this year.)
And where does he recommend staying? Seifrick tells us VRBO home rentals are popular with visitors who like to have a kitchen. The mainstream lodging such as the Best Western is very acceptable, and there are many bed and breakfast options. The Hotel Healdsburg and Hotel Les Mars (a Relais & Chateaux member property) are nearby luxury venues for those inclined to splurge.
Cheers, and see you there!