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Wilson, Dean

Dean “Deano” Wilson at a recent tasting at Mass Ave. Wine, Indy

Any wine geek living around Indianapolis the past 15 years knows Dean “Deano” Wilson. Deano had a couple of retail wine operations, a restaurant, and served as one of Indy’s “bon vivants” when it came to all matters wine.

His robust sense of humor and passion turned a lot of people into oenophiles. His story continues today in California pursuing a winemaking dream. Deano, wife Vicki and kids, picked up and moved to wine country nearly three years ago.

Wilson had industry connections and started working for winemaking icon Joel Peterson at Ravenswood.

Grape Sense LogoAfter two more stops, he started his own label – “Scribble, Scribble” – and debuted his whites last year and reds recently in hometown Indianapolis.

Wilson poured his Zinfandel, Petite Sirah, and Red Blend during several April stops. The wines were full bodied, a tad lighter in alcohol than normally expected and had a palate-friendly silkiness. The wines are distributed in Indiana, Tennessee and California.

Scribble, Scribble wine got its name from Wilson’s young son. The boy came home from school with some marks on a paper and explained it was Scribble, Scribble wines. Wilson added the phrase, ‘every scribble tells a story.” Indeed the wines are named for his children and mother.

Wilson feels lucky, with a bit of karma, since his initial departure to the west coast. “I’m from Indy and the first place I looked to make wine was Mare Island near Vallejo. Mare Island is an old naval base. The USS Indianapolis took out its last time from there. I’m from Indianapolis so it just felt right.”

Deano wants to permanently locate his family near that area at the heart of California wine country. To finish living the dream, he expects to grow his winery from the 700 cases of the latest vintage to 5,000 cases by 2020.

“Vicki is a chemistry teacher,” he said. “Our dream is by 2020 she gets to retire. Then she goes work a crush with a winery like Ravenswood and learns the wine analysis part of making wine. She comes back and we start our winery in the hills of Cloverdale in northern Sonoma County.”

His current and future location is a perfect spot for buying grapes. Deano bought Muscat Canelli white grapes from Lake County, north of Napa, and his Zin and Petite Sirah from Lodi west of San Francisco.

The location would give him the opportunity to buy grapes an easy distance away from Sonoma, Napa, Lake county and Lodi. The location would even make sourcing grapes from the California Central Coast a possibility.

A couple of steps in the winemaking process helped him achieve a wine style pleasing to customers wanting full flavor, a bit lighter alcohol, and a silky mouthfeel. First he picks grapes earlier than many to get more acidity. He uses oak aging to create balance and mouth feel. He co-ferments his Zin and Petite Sirah for his red blend. Fermenting the wines together “melds flavors and gives you deeper flavors,” Wilson explained.

This Indy wine icon hasn’t forgotten his Hoosier roots. He’s just living the dream from the coast. “If this is work, clock me in,” he cackled. “I don’t feel like I’m working and I don’t ever want to clock out.”

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