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Steve and William Carson are brothers who grew up in the southern suburbs of Denver. William graduated from Vanderbilt University with an Economics degree, and Steve got his Viticulture & Enology degree from University of California, Davis.
After graduation, William pursued adventures in the Virgin Islands, Alaska, Morocco, the Czech Republic, and finally Slovenia, where he settled for eleven years. Steve pursued his wine career interning at wineries in California and Oregon, before working in some wineries in Lodi in laboratory and winemaking positions.
In 2013, Steve asked William if he’d like to move to California and start a winery with him, and this is how Drava Wines got started. Since the Carson family had no wine history in California, they had a clean slate to forge their own path. Drava is the river which flows through Slovenia’s second city Maribor, and is where the oldest winegrape vine in the world grows, at about 450 years old. They named the winery after river in the city in which William moved from, and the city Maribor is what the reserve blend wine is named after.
After the first two vintages, 2014 and 2015, in which the first wines were made at other wineries, the permanent winery site was found on Turner Road just east of Highway 99, and they made their first vintage there in 2017.
Drava Wines continues to be a two brother, micro winery in the garagiste style. Each vintage, a new slate of Lodi appellation, Certified Sustainable (see the linked logo below for information) winegrapes are chosen to make into varietal wines and blends. The wines made changes every year, selecting some of the best small lots that can be sourced in Lodi, typically one-half and one-ton lots, hand-harvested and lovingly made. Only about five tons are made annually, or about 250 cases per vintage.