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Wild West Winterfest 2017

In December, we came together to celebrate all the incredible things that have been accomplished by the DAOU team over the past year. Like any DAOU event, the night was filled with many surprises a typical Holiday Party wouldn’t include. In addition to the amazing food & wine, the celebration had a few “dance offs”, a mechanical bull, and a disco bounce house. It is not too early to get excited for the 2018 Holiday Party!

Wine is nothing less than a miracle of nature. The four seasons are like chapters in a book that never fail to tell a remarkable story. From winter through fall, we witness an astonishing transformation in the vineyard through the year, from stark dormancy to lush greenery resulting in sweet grapes. Let us walk you through the seasons of the growth cycle that gives birth to a new vintage each and every year.

As the weather warms up in early spring, the vine’s remaining buds break open—a stage of growth known as “bud break.” First, the buds begin to swell then pop open to reveal the first green growth of the vintage. Soon, you will see baby leaves and the beginnings of new canes, and in time the tiny precursors to grape clusters begin to form. The growing season is now officially underway.

bud break



VINE pruning Pruning is the first hands-on step of preparing the vine for the growing season ahead. During pruning, we methodically cut and remove the thin branches—called “canes”—that remain from the previous year. However, we do not cut the canes off entirely. Instead, we leave just enough to carry a few “buds.” And it is from these buds the next vintage will be born.

Veraison is the process whereby the young berries turn color, from green to purple. This phase marks the fruit’s transition point from the growth phase to the ripening phase. The grapes are now developing sugar. The acidity is diminishing, and the pH is rising. The skins are beginning to soften and the seeds start to harden. In this way, veraison marks the home stretch to harvest.


fruit set


After bud break and initial shoot growth, the “flowering” period arrives in the spring as the baby clusters shed their hard caps. This shedding reveals tiny blooms, which are designed to self-pollinate. Successful pollination results in fully realized grape clusters and “sets” the crop for the coming harvest. We always want mild, steady weather during the flowering period.

As the grapes reach peak ripeness, the much-anticipated moment has finally arrived: harvest. The passion invested in the vineyard over the preceding nine months now comes to fruition. At night, we hand-pick the fruit block by block to ensure the delivery of cool fruit to the winery by dawn. The miracle of the growing season has finally been delivered—a new vintage is now born.




highlighting the people that bring this business to life



inventory & warehouse lead I handle and coordinate all internal movements between our inventory at the winery and the Tasting Room. I prepare internal wine requests and makes sure that all needs for the wine club are fulfilled. I makes sure all wine is accounted for and ensure inventory accuracy.


payroll & benefits coordinator My job is to process payroll on a semi-monthly basis and record it in our accounting system. I also support the HR department with new employee enrollment, benefit enrollment, and 401k management.


accounts payable My job is to process invoices and cut checks. Most of the time I’m at my desk surrounded by papers and printing documents. I collect invoice approvals and packing slips. I am glad to be a part of DAOU’s accounting team.


general ledger & cost accountant As the General Ledger accountant, I work with every department, external partners, and Elise to ensure our books are accurate. As the cost accountant, I work with the Production and Admin teams to calculate cost.

NEIL CASSIDY c.f.o. & c.o.o

I worked as CFO at Daou Systems in the late 1990’s helping to take them public in 1997. In 2013, I returned as the Chief Financial and Operating Officer for DAOU. I help grow the business, while overseeing the daily operation and managing the financial growth opportunities and risks at a strategic level.

ELISE S PA N G E N B E R G controller

I oversee our Accounting Team and all accounting operations. I also assist Neil with all Financial Planning and Analysis, and have spearheaded the development of our HR department. I work closely with our Executive Team to effectively run the business & brand.


My days mostly consist of invoicing wholesale customers, making sure we get paid on time, and giving out purchase order numbers when called upon. During harvest, I am heavily involved in the procurement process, recordkeeping, and payments to specific vendors.


inventory & logistics lead I am responsible for all inventory movements and logistical operations. When not coordinating transfers or handling the day to day operations around the winery, I troubleshoot inventory concerns & make sure the tasting room is able to operate at a high & efficient level.


ADDITIONS to our team


asst. lab manager

Andrew joined DAOU shortly after earning his Bachelors in Biology from Cal Poly. Though his career is just beginning, he certainly does not lack an impressive resume. He spent Harvest 2017 in Napa as the Winemaking Intern for William Hill and Louis Martini. Andrew has also been exposed to the Paso Robles wine scene while working as the Production Assistant at Proulx Wines. In fact, he has called the Central Coast home all his life and can’t imagine ever leaving this amazing region. Andrew will run important tests on our wines to help determine what crucial decisions need to be made. “This is truly a dream job since I get to work directly with Daniel which allows me to learn and grow as an aspiring winemaker.” He enjoys golfing, hunting and riding his road bike on weekends.


admin & operations support

Over the last 10 years, Brenda had built a successful and fulfilling Marketing career for software companies but has now chosen to follow her interest in the wine industry and transition into a part-time role at DAOU. Brenda wears many different hats as a project manager and administrative support to Neil and the Operations team. “I think I’ve learned something new every day,” she says. With the exception of attending Washington State University, Brenda has called Paso Robles home since 1980. She spends her spare moments outdoors and loves spending time with her husband, two children and grandchild.


southeast division manager

Caitlyn came to DAOU from a leading Southeast distributor, where she honed her wine sales expertise by helping open up new territories in the Charlotte region. She graduated from Johnson & Wales University with a degree in event management and a minor in beverage management. Ever since then, she has been an avid student of wine. She has obtained WSET Level 2 and CMS Level 1, and she will be pursuing the Certified Specialist of Wine (CSW) certification soon. She is particularly knowledgeable about the regions of California, France and South America. Caitlyn enjoys being involved in local groups such as Young Affiliates of the Mint and the Charlotte Chamber. On weekends, she enjoys hiking with her friends and her dog, Turley.


property & facilities manager

Clinton is a Paso Robles resident with extensive experience in facilities and equipment management. Prior to joining DAOU, he managed a local wind turbine repair and refurbishment company. “Treat others as you would like to be treated” is his personal mantra. Clinton is a classic car aficionado, and he enjoys spending time with his wife, daughter and three dogs named Jack, Archie and Smudge. “DAOU is a very exciting next chapter for me,” he says. “Taking care of the grounds and facilities is a challenge I look forward to, and I will be implementing a new system of scheduled maintenance to keep everything running smoothly.”


estate chef

Cody was born and raised in Monterey County and came to DAOU by way of Sonoma County, where he worked at the acclaimed Bravas Bar De Tapas in Healdsburg. As chef de cuisine, he helped Bravas Bar de Tapas earn recognition as a Michelin Guide Bib Gourmand winner and as a “Top 20 Tapas Restaurant in the United States” by Travel + Leisure. Cody recalls loving food “ever since I was knee high to a grasshopper.” This early passion inspired him to attend culinary school, and the rest is history. In time, his journey led him to DAOU. “I fell in love with everything about DAOU during my first visit,” Cody says. “I knew that I would fit right in with Georges’ and Daniel’s dream of cultivating a remarkable winery experience. Their beliefs and goals are as close to mine as can be.”


vineyard manager

David comes to DAOU from the Lodi and Clarksburg winegrowing regions of California, where he acted as a viticultural advisor. He has also conducted viticultural research trials across numerous other districts from Sonoma to the Central Valley. David grew up in Lodi, where he would ride his bicycle through nearby vineyards—igniting an early fascination with wine that ultimately led him to study viticulture and biology at UC Davis. In his spare time, he enjoys backpacking, fishing and the occasional round of golf. “DAOU is truly an amazing place to work,” he says. “In the ever-changing world of wine, it is the perfect terroir for growing world-class Bordeaux varieties and pushing the quality envelope.”


director of fine wine

David wields more than 20 years of experience in the world of fine wine. Prior to joining DAOU, he was the director of fine wines for Constellation Brands. He has also worked for the Robert Mondavi & Francis Ford Coppola families. David grew up in southeast Massachusetts and graduated with a degree in marketing from Georgia State University, after which he started his career in wine beginning in 1996. He is a Certified Specialist of Wine (CSW). He also holds a Wine and Spirits Educational Trust Advanced Degree (WSET Level 3) and is currently in the WSET Diploma Program. He resides in Charleston, South Carolina. “I am excited to spearhead the fine wine division of DAOU,” he says. “With the excellence of our wines and the transcendence of our brand experience, the possibilities are limitless.”



Sara Johnson has had a profound impact on DAOU in several roles in the last 6 years. For the past 3 years, she has led our Wine Club and Ecommerce team to break record after record. Sara will be transitioning into a new role to focus on PATRIMONY. In her new role as Patrimony, Director, Sara will leverage her experience and background building the DAOU brand to bring the spotlight on to PATRIMONY and give this legacy wine the focus and attention it deserves. As part of her new role, Sara will continue to consult and support the Membership team as they move forward.

Brandon has been with DAOU since November 2014. He started his journey as a tasting room associate, and was quickly promoted to Assistant Tasting Room Manager. For the last two years, Brandon has excelled as Regional Sales Manager for the Central Coast and Northern California. For those of you who’ve had the pleasure of working with Brandon in the past, you will know that he is an extremely valuable asset to all of us. His tireless work ethic, indomitable passion, and willingness to do what it takes to get the job done has taken him to his next challenge: The City of Angels.

PATRIMONY Estate Director

Regional Sales Manager LA


As part of our continued commitment to the development of our People, we are very pleased to share that both Raquel Smith and Jenna Nordschow have been promoted to manage and lead our Tasting Room and Hospitality team. Raquel, who began her career at DAOU years ago as a Wine Educator, has done a remarkable job this past year in her role as Assistant Tasting Room and Hospitality Manager. Jenna Nordschow joined us last year in a dual role as our Event Coordinator and a Wine Educator. This dynamic duo led our Tasting Room team to achieve remarkable success in all areas, including elevated Guest and hospitality experiences, world class events such as our 10th Anniversary Bond Gala and the highest sales in DAOU history. Raquel, in her new role as Manager, Hospitality and Guest Experience and Jenna, in her new role as Manager, Hospitality and Events will continue to build on the momentum they created in 2017 to press forward with their team to create unparalleled hospitality experiences that reflect our founders’ commitment to world-class wine.
















DAOU is honored to have partnered with Flemings. Together, we created a successful nationwide wine dinner collaboration at every locations with nearly 3,000 people experiencing DAOU. This partnership was truly unforgettable and we look forward to teaming up again.

Texas de Brazil is a chain of high-end restaurants that encompass the same ideals as DAOU from their quality food to their outstanding service. We are truly honored to have served our wines in their restaurants for a limited time offer and look forward to a future partnership.

VIEW VIDEO HERE Ferrari recently celebrated their brand with a special dinner featuring DAOU wines. The guests were shown a video telling the story of DAOU while sharing Georges’ connection with this iconic brand. It is a true honor to showcase our wines at this caliber.

For the second year in a row, DAOU traveled to Germany to share our story with the rest of the world. The ProWein Tradeshow is the perfect chance to meet the top in the industry and introduce them to our wines and the journey that brought us to where we are today.



Georges & Daniel hosted our first PATRIMONY Celebration at the Estate. A select group of our cherished friends began with a Rolls-Royce ride up the coast and ended with an unforgettable evening filled with amazing wine, great food by Chef Cody, and lots of laughter.

DAOU is truly honored to have been the wine sponsor for the 2018 Daytime Emmys. Our logo and all things DAOU were featured across the event including the famed Red Carpet. DAOU wines were also poured at the after party for all the Hollywood stars. Josh & Brandon represented DAOU very well!

“We want to give you more than just a 99 point glass of wine. We want to provide you unforgettable experiences you will cherish for a lifetime.”





Christina and her team have successfully grown our hospitality by providing incredible experiences and world class service.We are pleased to share several new experiences available to our guests that visit us on DAOU Mountain. Great job team!

CABERNET COMPREHENSIVE DAOU is built upon the Daou brothers’ pursuit of the perfect Cabernet Sauvignon, a quest that ultimately led them to this Mountain. During this private guided tour and tasting, you will walk in their footsteps— from the rich history of the Mountain to the unique growing conditions that drive the excellence of DAOU Cabernet Sauvignon. This experience features an intimate seated tasting of four Cabernet-based wines, including our highly coveted DAOU Estate Soul of a Lion. This tour is a “must” for any Cabernet enthusiast.

ESTATE PICNIC We provide the views, the wine and the basket—all you have to do is relax and take it all in. Our new picnic basket offering includes a bottle of 2017 DAOU Rosé and savory bites provided by DAOU Estate Chef Cody Thomasson, as well as priority viewpoint seating along the vineyard terrace near our legacy olive tree. As a DAOU member, you can reserve a set of DAOU’s iconic Adirondack chairs overlooking our vineyards and the Santa Lucia mountain range. This is a picnic you will never forget.

CHEESE & CHARCUTERIE We are taking our Cheese & Charcuterie experience to new heights. You and your guests will be provided with a delectable experience as we present local artisan cheeses and charcuterie perfectly paired with a selection of DAOU wines. It all begins with a guided walk around the Estate as we share the unique journey of DAOU. Next, you will “travel” around your cheese plate as your personal Wine Educator illuminates the art of each pairing. Example pairings include Central Coast Creamery’s Seascape Cheese & Serrano Ham with DAOU Estate Soul of a Lion, and our Estate Chef ’s Chorizo with DAOU Cuvée de Famille. You and your guests will love this delicious experience.

CULINARY EXPERIENCE Our new culinary menu will delight your palate—one pairing at a time. Choose your own prix fixe flight of three progressive pairings from a menu of five options. Pairings include a Honey Rosemary Quail with DAOU Estate Soul of a Lion. These progressive pairings put the “experience” into your dining here on DAOU Mountain—and they are a tribute to the Lebanese culinary heritage of the Daou family. DAOU members retain the exclusive option of simply ordering one main entrée with a paired glass of wine.

let itRING

The history of the bell mirrors the inspirational journey of our family to DAOU Mountain. DANIEL DAOU, PROPRIETOR/WINEMAKER

Over centuries, bells have come to symbolize something sacred—and the one here on DAOU Mountain is no different. Indeed, the antique bell that hangs in our bell tower is a piece of living history. It is rung only to mark our most revered occasions, and is so cherished that it is depicted on each label of DAOU wine. It has been challenging to piece together the entire story, but we are told the bell was crafted in 1740 in Santa Maria, Spain. Since it lived in a monastery that made wine, the monks would ring the bell at the beginning of harvest to alert the townspeople it was time to gather the grapes. They then rang it at the conclusion of harvest to share the good news of another fruitful season. This bell resided in one of three belltowers known as “the three sisters.” In time, the towers aged and inevitably collapsed. One of the bells remained in Spain, and another found its way to Portugal. The third one made it to the United States, where it eventually came into

the care of Georges Daou and Daniel Daou. The brothers were drawn to this bell’s story and beauty, and they imagined it as a fitting centerpiece to the DAOU experience. In keeping with the bell’s rich heritage, we ring it just three times per year. First, it signals the beginning of harvest on DAOU Mountain, which is always marked by a celebration. We also ring the bell to commemorate the end of harvest. Lastly, you will hear its majestic chiming on the 11th day of February during our Family Estate Soirée, when we unveil the latest vintages of Soul of A Lion and Mayote— named after Joseph and Marie Daou, the late parents of Georges and Daniel. This day marks the wedding anniversary of Joseph and Marie. The ringing of our bell is a reminder of their strength and love for their children, which made DAOU possible. Upon your next arrival to DAOU Mountain, take a moment to appreciate the journey of this bell and all it symbolizes.


Now at DAOU  
Now at DAOU