A Toast to Daniel Baron
Daniel Baron, winemaker at Silver Oak & Twomey for the last two decades, retired at the end of 2016 with his hand-picked successor, Nate Weis, taking over as Director of Winemaking. We toast Daniel and thank him for what has been a memorable run.
A self-described “beach rat” who grew up on Long Island, New York, Daniel Baron’s path to winemaker began with a bout of mono after his freshman year in college. Out of the running for a lifeguard job, he hopped in a car with friends and drove cross-country to San Francisco.
Little did he know that an impromptu road trip would be the start of a long and accomplished winemaking career – the last 22 years of which were spent here at Silver Oak and Twomey.
Soon after that fateful road trip Daniel transferred to UC Davis, where he received his Bachelor and Masters degrees in Viticulture and Enology. The following years brought him to France, where he worked for the Moueix family under Technical Director Jean-Claude Berrouet at Château Pétrus, and then back to California as the initial general manager for the family’s nascent Napa Valley winery, Dominus.
In 1994 Dan was hired by Justin Meyer as the second winemaker in Silver Oak history. “Justin was looking to name his successor,” says Daniel. “We hit it off immediately, and although I wasn’t sure about taking the job, Justin wouldn’t take no for an answer.” Daniel worked side by side with Justin until his retirement in 2001. “Justin instilled in me both pride in what Silver Oak had accomplished and the humility to realize that there is always room to improve,” says Daniel.
From 2001 to 2016, Daniel Baron was at the winemaking helm for Silver Oak & Twomey Cellars, crafting delicious, distinctive Silver Oak Cabernet Sauvignon and working with the Duncan family to develop the Twomey brand, which launched in 1999 and now produces Merlot, Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc. Always believing that “We have yet to make our best wines,” Daniel promoted a culture of continuous improvement, encouraging innovation and enhancing wine quality.
Why make wine? “To make something that gives people pleasure...to know all the hard work you put in gives people that much joy.” –Daniel Baron
Silver Oak Winemaker Nate Weis, who trained with and will succeed Daniel, reflects that “Dan has been a mentor, leader, and friend for many and is part of the Silver Oak and Twomey fiber and lore. He made a distinct impression on more than half of Silver Oak’s 45 vintages and on every single Twomey wine - guiding and defining their styles, and championing our never-ending focus on quality and improvement. His contributions are too immense to list and will continue to reverberate in these buildings, vineyards, and cellars for years to come.”
Though officially retired, Daniel will continue to consult in the wine industry, and his first clients are...us! With his free time Daniel looks forward to sailing, surfing, and diving – in other words, returning to the life of a “beach rat.”
Pictured L-R: David Duncan, Daniel Baron and Tim Duncan at Daniel's retirement party
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