When visitors walk through the entrance of Durst Winery & Estate and view the spectacular grounds and charming 100-year-old home known as Amada Mia, they would never know that this first-class winery in Acampo was once an abandoned, run-down property. Just minutes from Lodi, Durst Winery is a portal to good wine, good company and great memories.
An unparalleled experience on the Lodi Wine Trail, Durst Winery is a lush oasis nestled among acres of vineyards and orchards that burst with apples, plums and apricots. But the idyllic view isn’t the only thing that will take a guest’s breath away. Owners and winemakers Cassandra and Dan Durst have been crafting unforgettable wines sourced from premium California appellations since 2009.
The record of Durst land begins in the early 1900s with the Colony Church of Christ, which farmed the property for more than 35 years until it was sold to Herbert A. Fairbanks. With his son-in-law, W.H. Dement, Fairbanks owned and operated 220 acres of irrigated land. Fifty acres were devoted to a vineyard while the remaining land served as an orchard. But in the late 1960s, the land went into complete disrepair as wild growth began creeping in everywhere. By the late 1980s the property was considered abandoned and the house was on the verge of being condemned.
“When I discovered this property in 1999, it was truly a diamond in the rough,” Cassandra remembered. “The weeds were waist high and there were junk cars everywhere. After we purchased the property, countless loads of junk and garbage were hauled away before we could truly see the beauty of the land. The house was in horrible condition as well, with stairs that were caving in and an ivy trunk growing in the fireplace. Despite that, there was something about the building that drew me to it. It became more than just a house; it became a part of our hearts. Bringing this house back to life earned it the name Amada Mia, which means My Beloved, because that is how I truly felt about restoring this house to its previous glory and preserving its rich history.”
Passionate winemakers for many years, the Dursts also were determined to restore the land that had been lovingly cultivated and nurtured by several generations of farmers and winemakers. Since its humble beginnings, Durst Winery & Estate has evolved into a spectacular place where wine club members can relax on the covered patio or picnic with their family and enjoy a lazy afternoon of laughter, wine and connection.
The tasting room is another popular place for wine lovers to appreciate the unforgettable wines that Cassandra has crafted; these include Albariño, Amada Mia White, a Symphony Moscato, Pinot Noir, Amada Mia Red, a Bordeaux-style red blend Barbera, Cabernet Sauvignon, Old Vine Zinfandel and Petit Verdot. “We don’t do a lot of manipulation with our wines. We prefer to let the vines and grapes express themselves,” Cassandra added. “Our grapes are wonderful and we simply don’t need to tweak them much.”
The winery’s special four-legged greeters are always on hand to welcome guests or play a rousing game of fetch with the kids or other pets who visit. “Jack is our well-mannered gentleman Labrador retriever who is diligent about greeting guests and showing them to the tasting room,” Cassandra revealed. “Gracie is our seven-month-old chocolate Lab who loves nothing more than playing with the children who visit and helping Jack with ‘janitorial duty’ around the picnic area. These two add to the sense of family and warmth that already exudes from this majestic property.”
Durst Winery & Estate continues to be a living memory of the viticulture in the Lodi/Acampo region and it remains reminiscent of the past, rooted in the present and hopeful for the future. Established on the principles of love, laughter and togetherness, Cassandra and Dan continue to invite visitors to step away from the bustle of mundane life and recapture the essence of serenity, one glass at a time.
“Whether it’s friends, family or wine, it’s in my nature to love deeply and to want to share my passions with those around me,” Cassandra confirmed. “We are so lucky to be able to immerse ourselves in this lifestyle and share the Lodi wine experience with others. Durst Winery is a very social place and we like to say that we are a portal to exceptional wines, good company and great memories.
“If I were to sum up this winery and estate in one word, that word would be ‘embrace.’ We embrace the winemaking process and what this land continues to give us. We embrace all those who come here and we embrace our life on the property that is one of Northern California’s historic estates. We also embrace the chance to live and work with the amazing people of Central Valley and plan to do so for many years to come.”
For more information on Durst Winery, find them on Facebook or visit them on the web at durstwinery.com.