Wine critic Robert Parker called the Davis Family Vineyards Soul Patch Pinot Noir “an intense, rich, and flat-out beautiful wine.” The Chicago Sun-Times critic W. Peter Hoyne declared it “among the five most memorable Pinots that I have ever tasted.” And Wine Enthusiast proclaimed the 2009 Horseshoe Bend Pinot Noir “a consummate Russian River Pinot.” You get the feeling that the Davis family knows their business when it comes to producing great Pinot Noir (as well as old-vine Zinfandel and a Marsanne/Roussane/Viognier blend among others).

Those wines have years of wide-ranging experience in the making. When Guy Davis and his wife, Judy, launched their Russian River Valley winery in 1995, they brought not only their shared love for great wines, but more than a decade of tasting and marketing wine, and working hands-on with small artisan winemakers. Little by little, Guy moved from marketing to spending time with the grapes, from vines to bottle.

Now, three distinct vineyards take advantage of the microclimates of the Russian River Valley, producing grapes that enable Davis Family wines to express subtle differences—from those lauded Soul Patch and Horseshoe Bend wines to the deep-hued expressive fruit grown in the Starr Ridge vineyard.

The Davis sons are also in on the family wine act. Cole is the vineyard’s cellarmaster, and Cooper, while studying at Sonoma State University’s Wine Business Institute, helps run the tasting room and the farm. He also cooks part-time alongside chefs Duskie Estes and Mark Stewart at their seasonal outpost of restaurant Zazu at the vineyard.

“Wine is an essential element in a rich and passionate life,” says Guy Davis, who, along with his family, puts that philosophy into practice daily.