RIP: Beni Dusi

Posted by: TomHill

RIP: Beni Dusi - 09-29-2019 08:55:19

At our Ridge dinner last night at Pig+Fig, I learned from Ridge Prez, David Amadia, that Benito Dusi died 2 months ago, at age 86. He was farming his vnyd right up to the very end.

Dusi Ranch was made famous in the early Ď70ís when DaveBenion approached Beni about buying his grapes to produce a vnyd-designate Zin. Those early Ridge Dusis were not very good. Harvested early, they had a rather lean/hard/chalky character. When they let the grapes hang longer, they wines became much better, yet avoided the overripe/jammy/Smuckers blackberry jam character that some Paso Zins show. Save the occasional Dusi LateHrvst they sometimes made.

There are actually two Dusi Ranches. The one that was West of 101 was owned by older brother, Dante Dusi. Benito kept the original Dusi Ranch, to the East of 101. When you drive into Paso from the South, the meticulous vnyd on the right that looks like itís farmed with tweezers.. thatís Beniís.

Some 10-12 yrs ago, afore a HDR, I asked PaulDraper and DaveGates to tour me the Dusi Ranch. When we pulled into the yard, Beni climbed down from his tractor to greet us. I took an instant liking to Beni. A twinkle in his eye and a child-like smile that wouldnít quit. He insisted we come inside for spaghetti and tomato sauce. The house looked right out of the Ď40ís. Beni regaled is with his stories.

Paul used to let some of Beniís Zin hang late into the season. Beni, being the meticulous and conscious farmer he was, was certain his fellow farmers were laughing there heads off at him for still having grapes hanging so he told Paul ďno masĒ. That was the end of the Ridge Dusi Essence. Subsequent ones were LS and Geyserville. Until this new Dusi Essence Ď16, which is outstanding.

The Dusi family as kept the property in the Dusi family and it now farmed by Beniís nephew, Mike, from the Dante side of the family. Beni never married and had no heirs.

Ridge will continue to get the Beni Dusi Zin grapes and make one of the best Paso Zins around. I always regretted not stopping in, out of the blue, and visiting Beni. Iím sure he would have remembered me, he was sharp as a tack.

Paso and Calif has lost one of their best grape farmers. It made me choke up last night to hear that news from David, in the middle of a great evening of great food, great Ridge wine, and the most special of company.
Posted by: BEB

Re: RIP: Beni Dusi - 10-09-2019 14:46:50

Thanks for posting this, Tom. (And I hope you are recovering well from your knee replacement.)