Even the briefest conversation with Dale Goode, Murphy/Goode Vineyards, is a walk through grape growing and winemaking history.

A “living legend,” Goode will be this year's recipient of the Sonoma County Grape Growers Association's annual Viticulture Award of Excellence,” according to Nick Frey, SCGGA executive director

Q: Is it true you introduced wire trellises to Sonoma County?

A: Well, growers here didn't know I had already worked with them in the Central Valley.

Q: And the local grower reaction?

A: You can't grow grapes on wires, they said. They also advised me, “Don't irrigate.”

Q: Is it true you were not surprised by the Phylloxera outbreak a few years ago?

A: Actually few growers should have been. Back in ‘65 the university was telling us AXR was a fine rootstock but they warned it might also bear Phylloxera in 20 years.

Q: Was it a difficult decision to go into wine making?

A: Sheer necessity made it easy. At the time grape prices were so low, my partner and I decided to sell them to ourselves. We made 6,000 cases of sauvignon blanc and chardonnay and sold them all.

Q: And you've been doing that ever since?

A: We still grow grapes for Murphy/Goode wines but now we buy from other growers.

Community leader

Dale Goode's life in wine country didn't stop at the end of the trellis. He has been an Alexander Valley School Board member, on the Viticulture Advisory Committee for Santa Rosa Junior College and a founding member of the Alexander Valley Winegrowers Association.

Q: What has kept your interest in grape growing and wine making so active for the past 40 years?

A: The changes. In this business, everything evolves. That's the challenge, whether you've been around for awhile or just starting out tomorrow.