2020 was a milestone in the history of Michael David Weinery. The sixth generation of Lodi in California, led by brothers Michael and David Phillips, has carried out an ambitious project to expand its vineyard and renovate its visitors. The company grew 12 percent and donated $100,000 to fund virus research at the University of California in Santa Cruz for a new viral wine project.
The company overcame Covid-19’s limitations to maintain the momentum of its direct sales and hotel operations, and also completed the transformation of its brand line and tripled the size of its production facilities. The dramatic transition began in 2018, when the company sold The Wine Group Seven Deadly Interest, the number one brand of Zinfandel in America.
The current revival is part of a 36-year legacy of innovation, creativity, leadership in promoting Lodi as a quality grape variety and a forward-looking approach to sustainable agriculture, not to mention irreverent marketing humour.
Raised in the fifth generation on their family farm in the California Delta, Michael and David both attended the University of California at Davis. Michael, who is 10 years older, studied natural sciences and David specialized in international trade.
Michael founded the family winery in 1984, when the grapes were only one of the many crops grown in Lodi and there were only a handful of wineries. David has been with us since 1989.
Today, Michael is CEO and co-owner of the company with David, who is president and, according to him, the number one cheerleader. Michael’s son, Kevin, is Vice President of Operations and his daughter, Melissa Phillips-Strud, is Vice President of Sales and Marketing. They all pay tribute to their key employees, including Adam Mettler, director of Wine Operations, who received the Wine of the Year award 2018.
According to Michael, the consultation with winemaker Barry Gnekov played an important role in the development of Michael David’s style of wine, which was mature and daring, with a rich oak aroma without being extreme. David describes his wines as balanced.
Photo courtesy of the Michael David factory
I don’t like this middle ground, as in Buddhism, not too extreme in any direction, David said. People can bring our wine to the party and everyone will love it.
The Freakshow brand is currently the best-selling brand in Michael David’s stores for around $20 a bottle and is most ready to expand. Earthquake, Little, Inkwell, Ascension, Lust, Political Law and 6th Feeling continue to attract attention, while Michael David’s recently refurbished line is more suited to gastronomy.
While the march is provocative, the family itself is warm and welcoming.
They protect their neighbors in Lodi, and their sense of community and place seeps into their guilt, said Laura Glenn, Director of Supplier Relations for Empire North Carolina Retailers. They want to communicate not only with wine drinkers, but also with the whole world.
is proud to honor Michael David’s vineyard as American wine of the year in recognition of the success of the Phillips family and their excellent service to consumers, the wine industry and the Lodi wine community. -Jim Gordon
Discover the other winners of the Wine Star 2020 contest!