Master of the Cave Tour: Dave Del Dotto


Sure, there are cave tours. But, then there are CAVE TOURS!

Join us in the Napa Valley as we follow Dave Del Dotto through his nearly 150 year-old candle-lit cave. Along the way, Dave discusses everything from ancient wine history, religion and wine, fermenting in a clay vessel, how wines affect your body, the effects of sulfites in wine, wine as a natural anti-biotic and disinfectant, to how Cabernet Franc is the real Cabernet.

And what about oak as a spice rack, its toast levels, selecting bottling by barrel type?  Dave probably uses more different oak varieties than anyone, and you can actually order your own final blend of wine based on this tasting tour. Of course, along the way we have to stop and barrel sample many wines…no, make that many, many wines!

More Information:

Del Dotto Vineyards:

Sponsor: Custom Crush Napa:

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Show #141
(1:38:54 min 28 MB)

Jay, Mark and Dave 

Part of the large reception/tasting area

Just one of the tasting and sales rooms at Del Dotto

Entrance to the cave




Entrance on Silverado Trail

Small cask of high-octane juice

Cutaway of barrels shows just two of the various types of oak Dave uses.  Note the grooves inside the barrel on the left

19 Responses to “Master of the Cave Tour: Dave Del Dotto”

  1. 1 razmaspaz Apr 9th, 2007 at 10:05 am

    What a character. I toured Del Dotto last fall (on a recommendation from an older show) and loved it. We didn’t get Dave, we got one of the other tour guides, but we had a great time there. Everyone that went with me said it ws the highlight of our week. I have to go back now just to take the tour with Dave.

  2. 2 Tim Elliott Apr 10th, 2007 at 11:22 am

    Great show. After listening to Dave and his passion for wine, I’m ready to take the tour myself. But I’m now afraid that the waiting list will be too long after this Grape Radio exposure. And No Jay, you didn’t come across as an embarrassment to yourself or Grape Radio. Considering the number of tastings that went on through the show, I think you handled yourself well. It’s Dave who I would have been worried about. “I feel very euphoric right now”. great quote that shows his love for his craft.

    Thanks Again

  3. 3 Stephanie Weller Apr 10th, 2007 at 11:52 am

    This was one of my favorite shows, I can see why people are drawn to this venue it all just seemed lik so much fun I wanted to join in. Next time in Napa I wil make sure I add this place to my list.

  4. 4 GrapeRadio Bunch Apr 11th, 2007 at 11:45 am

    All I can say is that I want to go back. You just have to LOVE his energy. In addition, the wine is pretty tasty.


  5. 5 D.R. Apr 11th, 2007 at 4:54 pm

    Thanks for a great show on Del Dotto Vineyards.
    Dave Del Dotto is a fabulous salesman – maybe too fabulous?
    Take a look at
    If you Google search for “Dave Del Dotto”, you will find other evidence of his selling skills.
    I look forward to visiting Del Dotto’s winery, but I will be listen to the sales pitch with skepticism. Caveat emptor

  6. 6 Jeff Linder May 22nd, 2007 at 1:43 pm

    How can anyone take Dave Del Dotto seriously? He reminds me of so many people in the industry in which I work, advertising. Someone with a lot of self-importance on a major ego trip. There wasn’t a hint of humility or introspection. Here’s a guy – or should I say, character – who’s hawking, no flogging, his wares in a crass way I wouldn’t usually connect with high end wine. How many times do we have to hear him tell us his wines are “rich?” I bet he said his wines were “rich” 50 or more times in this podcast. There was not one of his wines that wasn’t “the world’s best” or the “the best Pinot in the world,” or “can’t get this incredible rich, vanilla flavor anywhere else.” After a while all his superlatives ring hollow and you begin to think the man is a fool. Or, worse, thinks we’re fools. What is interesting here is that Grape Radio presents all sorts of personalities in the wine industry. From the carnival barker, insipid hard sell of Del Dotto, to the imperious but fascinating Stephen Tanzer, the pretentious yet knowledgeable Allen Meadows, to the industrious and respectable Marc Perrin. For us in podcast land, we get to look in through an always interesting window.

  7. 7 DCS Sep 11th, 2007 at 3:22 pm

    I finally got around to listening to this show yesterday. What a total blowhard. Del Dotto contradicts himself at every turn, one moment talking about how his unoaked wines fermented in clay are the world’s best and the next saying that his super-oaked wines that taste like Tahitian vanilla are the best. Almost everything he said was difficult to swallow.

    I’m glad Grape Radio interviews all of these different folks as it gives an unvarnished window into the world of wine which is otherwise hard to get. I believe the vintner’s personality is often reflected in the wine so that’s helpful to us as consumers and appreciators of wine. Unfortunately, he had you guys eating out of his hand. I know you aren’t trying to do investigative journalism, but Grape Radio is established enough now that you could be a little tougher on charlatans like Del Dotto.

  8. 8 GrapeRadio Bunch Sep 13th, 2007 at 4:25 am

    You are cynic DCS. I like that. I am not so sure I agree that he had us eating out of his hand. As a matter of fact, I think I pushed back a few times. That being said, I do not argue with your point that we could have been tougher. To be honest, I am not sure I am that sort of guy. Just like wine reviews, I think people can make their own judgments. I do not go in with an agenda.


  9. 9 Art Dec 10th, 2007 at 6:13 am

    Del Dotto and wines now, befiore this he was pitching vitamins on infomercials, and before that he was a real estate “guru”. If he was that good at any of the prior, one would think that would still be his primary bread and butter.
    Residences of his have been foreclosed on. Does not sound like the type I’d follow into business.

  10. 10 Harry Harr Feb 12th, 2008 at 10:50 am

    Dave Del Dotto is a great example of a Jehovah’s Witness who made a fortune scamming people with get rich real estate courses. Now he’s scamming folks with his wines.

  11. 11 Harry Harr Feb 12th, 2008 at 10:56 am

    sorry. I mistyped my email. The above is correct.

  12. 12 Lee May 30th, 2008 at 6:57 am

    Just returned from my tour of the wine cave and it was fantastic! Tasted from at least 8 barrels and continued my journey for another hour or so with one of the winemakers, Greg, for more outstanding items. Despite the crass remarks from a few, Dave does not profess to be a winemaker, he happens to be the guy fortunate enough to grow and purchase some of the most outstanding fruits in the region and have great winemakers with profound palates with a dash of his input. How he chose to make his living way back when has nothing to do with the present. The caves and tasting rooms are beautiful, very tasteful decor, staff absolutely wonderful. The wine may be a bit pricey, comparable to the limited reserves I buy at Chateau St. Jean and Beringer, but each is a winner, 89pt and up in my book. I’m now a loyal fan and will be stocking my wine room with these treasures, especially with my custom-blended! Hats off to you Dave!

  13. 13 Rhonda Oct 27th, 2008 at 12:38 pm

    We just got back from the Tour of the Caves at Del Dotto. This was the most impressive tour I have taken. We had Francisco as our guide and he was incredible. We had a large group that was there to have fun and learn about the wine, and Franciso was the man for us!!
    He was very personable and”go with the Flow” , which our group required! Thank you Del Dotto and Dave for the beautiful winery and facinating caves of light!!

  14. 14 GrapeRadio Bunch Oct 28th, 2008 at 1:03 pm

    Rhonda, reading your comment made be laugh. It is a fun tour. One that most would never forget. Thanks for bringing back some memories and sharing yours.


  15. 15 Kevin B Dec 6th, 2008 at 6:11 pm

    Wow. I do not know Daves past, but I did meet him at the caves (BOTH). What a day. I probably had the best time I have ever had wine tasting. The wines were also the best I have ever had. I was with a VIP and we tasted barrels that only Dave gets to tast! What a great place. I taking my parents back with me for anothe great day out. All I can say is Wow, all the other places were boring.

  16. 16 Kevin B Dec 6th, 2008 at 6:29 pm

    Sorry about the spelling on that. It is from a Blackberry or after wine tasting at Daves!

  17. 17 GrapeRadio Bunch Dec 9th, 2008 at 4:42 am

    Kevin, the very fact you could tyoe after a visit with Dave is impressive beyond words.

  18. 18 Bob May 14th, 2009 at 12:37 pm

    Hmm.. 150 year old cave…he built that cave 3 years ago. You guys are so gullible.

  19. 19 GrapeRadio Bunch May 14th, 2009 at 12:57 pm

    Bob, gullible though we may be, this video podcast was shot in the OLD Del Dotto location, off Silverado Trail, rather than the new location on Hwy 29.


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