Benito Dusi Ranch is the only Ridge vineyard source south of the San Francisco Bay area. Located between the Santa Lucia Range and the Chalone Hills, it is situated just south of the town of Paso Robles, near Highway 101 and 46W. Part of the Paso Robles AVA, this location consistently experiences very large diurnal temperature shifts – hot days fading to cool nights. This phenomenon allows the head-trained (no trellis) vines rooted in the vineyard’s rocky, gravelly soils to produce fruit that showscases zinfandel’s bramble fruit and velvet tannins.
Sylvester and Caterina Dusi immigrated to the United States from Italy and ultimately settled in the Paso Robles area in the 1920’s. In 1924 they purchased their “Home Ranch” vineyard, where they raised three sons – Guido, Dante, and Benito. When Guido and Dante went to war in 1944, vineyard cultivation was left to their father and young Benito, who was eleven years old at the time. Benny, as his many friends called him, carefully tended the vines for nearly 75 years, until his passing in 2019. The original “Home Ranch” is now known as Benito Dusi Ranch, and it is from this vineyard that we produce our Paso Robles zinfandel.
The vineyard we now call the Benito Dusi Ranch was originally planted in 1923. From the start, it was planted entirely to zinfandel, and it remains so to this day. For a vineyard that was established more than 85 years ago, this devotion to a single grape variety was highly unusual, as field blended plantings were far more conventional at the time. However, the Dusi family’s single-minded commitment to and consummate care for the zinfandel variety is an essential part of what makes this particular site so distinctive.
At Benito Dusi Ranch, we employ a gentle, hands-off approach to the winemaking process. Through a combination of hand-harvesting, natural yeast fermentation, and minimal intervention, we are able to produce what we believe to be the true essence of this vineyard site and of the Paso Robles AVA. Wines that consistently show deep, juicy bramble fruit on the palate, along with notes of black cherry, gravelly earth, and rich chocolate. Paso Robles is Zinfandel at its finest.