Dawnine Dyer

Dawnine Dyer

Dyer Vineyards (Winemaker & Partner)

Meteor Vineyard (Leader & Innovator)

Dawnine Dyer is a well-known California winemaker who pioneered the use of French Champagne production methods in California’s fledgling sparkling wine industry in the 1970s. She also is recognized for creating Bordeaux-style single-vineyard blends using Cabernet Sauvignon grapes grown in the Napa Valley.

A California native, she earned a degree in biology from the University of California, Santa Cruz and began her wine career in 1974 at the Robert Mondavi Winery in Oakville in the Napa Valley grape-growing region. In 1976, she joined the Napa Valley start-up, Domaine Chandon, the first American, French-owned sparkling winery. Dawnine was paired with a French winemaking team from Domaine Chandon’s parent company, Moët & Chandon, which included veteran winemaker Edmond Maudiere.

Dawnine spent 25 years as Winemaker at Domaine Chandon. A staunch Californian and always a fan of the bubbly, her tenure at Chandon was marked by the introduction of many original sparkling wines and wine styles, taking the best of both a rich tradition and a promising appellation. She oversaw all winemaking at the 400,000-case winery and also worked with its parent company in France. In 1986, she helped found Domaine Chandon’s sister winery in Australia’s Yarra Valley and also oversaw export products for the company’s winery facility in Argentina.

In 1993, while at Domaine Chandon, Dawnine and husband Bill, also a well-known winemaker, planted a 2.5-acre Cabernet Sauvignon vineyard in the Diamond Mountain AVA of Napa Valley, and began making 400 cases a year of Dyer Vineyard Bordeaux-style wines using sustainable farming methods.

In 2000, Dawnine left Domaine Chandon to devote more time to Dyer Vineyard. In addition, she and Bill were the winemakers for Sodaro Estate Winery since its founding in 1998 until 2013, and are also partners in a new venture, Meteor Vineyard.

Dawnine has served as president of the Napa Valley Vintner's Association and was a member of the founding board of Women for WineSense. She serves as a judge for several professional wine competitions, including the U.S.-based National Women’s Wine Competition.