The Foxen Boys

May 2, 2017

If you were to read a book about the history of wine making in Santa Barbara Wine Country, Foxen Winery would most definitely be a significant part of it.  History is made when two people meet who’s personalities and talents compliment each other with a common vision, each bringing something to the table– or in this case the bottle– to make the vision a reality. And as Foxen’s popular, and rather catchy, adage goes, “If you don’t know FOXEN, you don’t know Dick… or Bill!”

Where did Dick Doré and Bill Wathen, commonly referred to as the Foxen Boys, meet? At a party… of course.  You’ll enjoy watching our interview when they describe the details of the first time they met and their early years making wine. You’re sure to be entertained by their version of the story.

Though Dick and Bill get much of the well-deserved credit for Foxen’s success, their joint venture which began in 1985, is really a joint family business; which undoubtedly would not be the success it is without the expertise of their wives and all they do.  Both Jenny Doré, Dick’s wife, and Becky Wathen, Bill’s wife, are behind the scenes keeping the business wheels turning and the Foxen boys on track– even their children play significant roles in running the family business.

Keeping it in the family is only natural since Foxen’s vineyard and winery is on Dick Doré’s historic family property. In fact, their original winery — commonly referred to as “The Shack”– is the old blacksmith shop that was in full operation when Dick’s great great grandfather, William Benjamin Foxen, operated the family property as a horse ranch.  William Foxen was a sailor in the hide and tallow trade, who sailed around Cape Horn and came to Monterrey to pick up the hides and tallow, before dropping them off in Mexico and bringing back finished goods to California. On one of his trips he stopped in Santa Barbara at the Regional Commodant’s home. He met the Commodant’s youngest daughter, instantly fell in love and married.  It was 1837, his new father-in-law arranged for William Foxen to purchase 10,000 acres from a Mexican land grant, which is now the Foxen property.  William Foxen and his new wife started raising horses on the Foxen Canyon property and had 14 children!  What better name for their winery than “Foxen,” with the logo adapted from the original cattle brand tilt head anchor.

The Foxen Boys, Dick Dore and Bill Wathen

So how did managing horses turn into producing wine? That’s where Bill comes in. More details are in our interview, but long story short, Bill knows what he’s doing in the vineyard where Dick says Bill, “makes the magic happen.” Clearly his talents are also in the winery because you’ll never find a Foxen wine that will disappoint– consider it a challenge and start with our three featured Foxen wines below. Even when they were operating in a 150 year old building, Bill still made incredible wines that built the reputation Foxen maintains.

 

When asked how they might sum up an aspect of themselves that may get infused into Foxen wines with one word, Bill said that he likes to borrow the term “Hózhó″ from the Navajo, meaning “walking in beauty – or living in a manner that strives to create and maintain balance, harmony, beauty and order.”  

Foxen wines are just that… wines in balance.

We’ve had the pleasure of hosting a few Foxen Winemaker Dinners. They are always a great success– not only is the food amazing– but Dick and Bill bring their approachable demeanors and exceptional wine knowledge which always make for spirited conversation.  After getting to know the Foxen Boys and their wives, it is apparent how they have become anchors of the Santa Barbara County wine industry.


ENJOY THESE THREE FEATURED FOXEN WINES AT 20% OFF THIS MONTH ONLY!

Regular price $ 32 May 2017 20% OFF Discount $25.60 This wine offers intriguing lemongrass, Asian pear, chamomile, jasmine and pink grapefruit aromas arise on the nose of this dynamic single-block bottling. Tons of energy show on the sip, which is light and yet offers lots of intriguing flavors, from white sesame and chalk to lime peels and grippy yellow grapefruit pithiness. Pairs well with salads, especially those with citrus elements.

Regular price $ 36 – May 2017 20% OFF Discount $28.80 90 pts. – Robert Parker – Pop this bottle and kick back with some friends! Spice, underbrush, wild herbs and assorted red fruits all emerge from the charming, medium-bodied, supple, forward 2014 Pinot Noir from the Santa Maria Valley. It’s geared for drinking over the coming 3-4 years, but offers incredible quality for not much buck. Note, this is a mix from Bien Nacido, Riverbench and Solomon Hills vineyards, and spent nine months in old French oak. It’s a great representation of hard spice and red fruit and pairs well with any hearty food, cheeses or duck.

Regular price $35 May 2017 20% OFF Discount $28 2014 Foxen 7200 Volpino, Foxen’s Volpino (meaning “little fox”) has become a staple in their ‘7200’ line-up of wines. The wine’s 80% Sangiovese comes from Faith Vineyard, located in a small oak-studded valley below Figueroa Mountain. The remainder of the blend (20%) is Merlot from Vogelzang Vineyard in Happy Canyon, used to round out the mouthfeel and soften the Sangiovese’s tannins. The grapes are whole-berry destemmed as individual lots with 5-day cold maceration. The wine sees 22 months in neutral French oak barrels before being bottled unfiltered & unfined.

foxen winesThe Los Olivos Wine Merchant & Cafe is honored to be featuring Dick Doré and Bill Wathen of Foxen Wines for the month of May.

Here are a few ways to experience these three featured Foxen Wines this May:

  • They’ll will be offered by the glass at the Wine Merchant & Cafe
  • In the Foxen tasting flight at the Wine Merchant & Cafe
  • Meet Dick and his wife Jenny when they pour their wines with delicious small bites on May 26th from 5:30-6:30. Cost is $25
  • Take Home and Online Price for the following three featured wines will be 20% off all month!
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