Among the benefits of being a "serial entrepreneur," as Tim Bucher, owner of Trattore Estate winery in Healdsburg, aptly describes himself, is having the financial chops to take advantage of those 150 year-old olive trees you happen to "discover" on your recently purchased Sonoma County wine estate. Nice.
Enter Bucher's latest business plan: Dry Creek Olive Company.
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We admit that when we scanned Bucher's resume, which lists not one, but several start-ups that he sold to the likes of Apple, Dell, and Microsoft (yeah, we imagine his idea of a wine bargain is a bit different from ours), we weren't thinking all that corporate prowess would necessarily translate into really great small-batch olive oil. Then again, Bucher grew up on a dairy farm in Healdsburg (hence "Trattore" Wines, the Italian word for tractor). And he's on the board of directors of Santa Monica's GRAMMY Foundation, so we gave him a few extra local nonprofit olive oil points.
It just so happens that Dry Creek Olive Company's Healdsburg Blend is one of the best California olive oils we've tasted of late. This is a big, grassy olive oil with a peppery finish. The sort of full-bodied oil that you serve to your Italian neighbors (in generous bowls, with plenty of crusty loaves of ready to make the blind tasting plunge), just to see if they might mistake this Sonoma County blend for Tuscan olive oil. The Healdsburg Blend is in fact primarily a blend of Tuscan varietals, with a few Spanish Arbequina olives thrown into the mix.
Currently, the oil is available online and in the Dry Creek Olive Company tasting room ($25 for the 2010, 375 ml bottle). Yeah, it's a bit on the pricey end, as is pretty much anything in prime Sonoma grape-growing range. Alternatively, should you happen to have an olive tree-lined Sonoma wine country estate (lucky you), Bucher, ever the entrepreneur, is happy to press those olives for you. If you meet the one ton minimum requirement, of course.
Not so olive rich? If you only have one or two backyard wine country trees, you can participate in Dry Creek Olive Company's community olive press days (the number of bottles you take home depends on the percentage of olives you contribute). We figure it will be a while before our dreams of owning a little olive grove along the 405 come to fruition, so please do save a bottle for us.