Casting The Spell

Tucked into the forest on a tranquil bench above Grey Palm Estate vineyard in Dry Creek Valley is Cast Winery, a boutique winery that produces wines in small batches using old-world techniques that highlight the very best of Sonoma County. The estate boasts spellbinding views which enhance an authentic wine country experience that echoes a simpler time. The winery’s name – Cast – was conceived over a bottle of wine while gazing out at a stunning sunset over their vineyard. Let’s take a closer look and see why Dry Creek Valley newest winery is casting such a spell…

Cast Wines is a boutique operation, producing approximately 2,000 cases a year since their inaugural 2012 vintage. The wines are crafted by a Sonoma luminary, winemaker Mike Gulyash, from carefully selected grapes within Dry Creek Valley’s renowned terroir. Their Grey Palm Estate vineyard in Dry Creek Valley, overseen by well-known Sonoma County vineyard manager, Mitch Patin, provides the fruit for their Estate Wines, Zinfandel and Petite Sirah and the adjacent Watson Vineyard is sourced for their 2012 Old Vine Zinfandel.

Meet The Wizard

Cast Wines Winemaker Mikael (Mike) Gulyash, AKA the Wine Wizard, is a northern California native who has spent virtually his entire career in the Sonoma County wine business, having personally performed virtually every task in the vineyard and the winery. Mike is a master at coaxing out the essence of Cast’s prime Sonoma County terroir, crafting a variety of outstanding wines with a flavorful, balanced and restrained style.

After earning his BA degree in Organic Chemistry, Mike started his career at Sonoma County’s legendary Jordan Estate. Influenced by famed winemakers André Tchelistcheff and Rob Davis, he honed his craft and unique approach, advancing steadily up the ranks to become Cellar Master 16 years later. Mikael is very knowledgeable in the use and application of barrels. When asked how he gained such invaluable experience, he credits his work with the French-trained winemakers and coopers, stating:

“This let me ‘connect the dots’ and ask intelligent questions of cause and effect regarding the coopering of the wood. Still important is to remember we are in California and the wines marry with the wood in manners that are a bit different than French wines, but the overall pattern of the characteristics of the wood, and the coopers influence will still be apparent. One of the more important things to remember is the industry ” norm ” is to take wines to market sooner than ” tradition ” hence the pairing of wood and wine is ” more critical ” here as the time frame to get or keep a balance is abbreviated.”

Mike eventually joined B. R. Cohn Winery as Winemaker where he collaborated with wine pioneer Merry Edwards. Parlaying this deep experience into a successful consulting career, Mike has built a considerable reputation for his deft touch and magical intuition in crafting his delicious, award winning wines. A renaissance man with varied interests that extend beyond the world of wine, Mike is also a Private pilot with his own Cessna 172, a 3rd-degree Aikido belt, an AMA motorcycle racer and a rock climber who has tackled El Cap in Yosemite.

The Wine Behind The Cask

2012 Grey Palm Estate Zinfandel

The 2012 Grey Palm Estate Zinfandel is a delightfully fruity and medium-bodied wine, presently showing prominent aromas of cherry, strawberry and black pepper – classic zinfandel characteristics. Nine months of barrel aging has given the wine good texture in the mid palate with additional hints of vanilla and mocha. The finish is medium-long, clean and balanced. A great aperitif wine, this zinfandel will easily pair with food; elegant enough to enjoy with lighter dishes but at the same time rich enough to stand up to grilled foods. These wines are sourced from the Grey Palm Estate vineyard, named for the massive old Canary Island Date Palm that towers above the vines in the heart of Sonoma County’s renowned Dry Creek Valley appellation. These zinfandel grape vines have a truly noble lineage, having been planted in 2003 using budwood sourced from the ancient, 125 year-old vines at St. Peter Church, just up the road in Cloverdale. $34/bottle, available for purchase here.

2012 Grey Palm Estate Reserve Petite Sirah

The 2012 Grey Palm Estate Reserve Petite Sirah has continued to amaze since fermentation with its combination of intensity and finesse. This wine is offering huge amounts of varietal identity including blackberry, boysenberry and lavender. The aromatics also include sweet flowers and vanilla, mocha, dark chocolate, bay spice and vanilla. The wine is virtually massive in its richness, intense delicious fruits and briars in the palate that impress from the start to the very long finish that goes on for minutes. This is looking to be a spectacular wine and likely the “pick of the litter” of Cast Estate’s wines from 2012 for those who appreciate this delicious varietal. Releasing Fall 2014.

The Cast Wines tasting room is currently under construction and due to open by the end of April 2014.  Seated tastings 7 days a week between 10am and 5pm will take place on their terrace, focusing on Estate and Single Vineyard wines from Dry Creek and Russian River.  Cheese pairings will be available for purchase with the flight, and guests are welcome to bring their own picnic to enjoy in our Oak Grove.  To schedule your tour and tasting, please call Abigail at 707-385-9946 or by emailing

Check them out on Social Media: