My love affair, passion and obsession for fine wine began while putting myself through school working as a waiter, sommelier, and chef, but I found my true inspiration while living in Paris, France, working for Nabisco in my early 20s. It was there that I first experienced the art of wine, food and culture in a way that was truly spiritual, all in the beautiful City of Light.
I was destined to follow my dream, and in 2010 decided to vinify our first ton, two barrels, in our new cellar and crushpad at home, for family and friends. After crafting our first vintage at home, there was no way back for me. In 2011, I left private equity and accepted the CEO position at Kosta Browne to follow that dream. While CEO at Kosta Browne, Domaine Della became my project to move in the direction I was destined to follow. In 2015, I left Kosta Browne as she was no longer my project, she became my passion and obsession. I have been crafting distinctive Pinot Noir and Chardonnay ever since.
Domaine Della is not a subtle obsession and this project is a culmination of over three decades of experience. I wish for everyone to follow their passion and their dream. I am grateful to my family, my many mentors and life teachers over the years to get us to this place while we continue to execute against the envisioned future of a timeless brand that will endure the generations.
I have been a student of fine wine all my life. Having traveled around the world nearly 50 times on international assignments and visiting every major wine region in the world, each of these adventures was never complete without discovering and enjoying the local food, wines, and culture. I have also been collecting and enjoying these luxury wines from all over the world for over 30 years. My first loves were Bordeaux, Burgundy and Bolgheri Super Tuscans.
You may have wondered, or not, about the Iris on the label, this was our mother Della’s favorite flower. Della was an extraordinary woman who believed in living the life you always imagined and in pursuing one’s dreams, no matter the obstacles. She also believed in family, and tradition. Domaine Della embodies these values.
Irises have rich meanings dating back to Ancient Greek times to include faith, hope and wisdom, passion, courage, and admiration. The Greek Goddess Iris was a messenger to the gods who was thought to use the rainbow as a bridge between heaven and earth. The red petal, was a moment I had while we were creating the label, later brilliantly painted by my sister Lela Hejl LeRoy, then made real and immortalized by the most gifted Mindy Kreck.
The single red petal represents whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is real, whatever is pure in the blueprint, discovery and execution of our lives is for us to consider that we were born to be loved and this petal reminds us of the Love, Beauty and Romance all around us. Whatever our pursuits, never relent. Our wines are made with passion, obsession, and love to celebrate what we live for. Our joy, is to play a part in making your life experiences and special moments memorable by taking your breath away—always, now, and forever.
In our shared passion, we are honored and grateful to be partnering with Kent Ritchie of Ritchie Vineyard, Russian River Valley; Marcy Keefer of Keefer Ranch, Russian River Valley (2012-2016); Howard, Linda and Christina Graham of Graham Family Vineyards, Russian River Valley; Earl Stephens of Earl Stephens Vineyard, Russian River Valley. In the Sonoma Coast, Diana, and Charles Karren of Terra de Promissio, Sonoma Coast; and in the Santa Lucia Highlands, Gary, Rosella, Nick and Adam Franscioni and Gary, Mark, and Jeff Pisoni of Soberanes and Rosella’s Vineyards.
David W. Hejl – Founder / Winemaker